Luke Combs is feeling the weight of responsibility he has in country music. 

As one of the genre’s biggest artists, with 14 #1 singles to his name, Luke says he wants to help diversify country music. 

In 2021, the singer publicly apologized for his appearance in Ryan Upchurch‘s 2015 video for “Can I Get an Outlaw” that featured Confederate flag imagery, including a sticker of the flag on Luke’s guitar.  

After the video resurfaced online and Luke received criticism for his participation, he issued a statement in which he apologized; he said that, at the time, there was “no excuse for those images,” and he realized how “painful” the Confederate flag is to Black Americans.   

“If I showed up somewhere and there was something there that made me feel like I wasn’t welcome there, that would be awful to me,” Luke tells CBS News in a new interview. “Unfortunately, I have been pulled into the undertow of this conversation at times because I am at the forefront of our genre, so I do feel some responsibility. I feel a responsibility to the genre and always a goal for me has been to expand the influence of the genre.”

Luke’s highly anticipated new album, Growin’ Up, is available now. His current single, “The Kind of Love We Make,” is in the top 20 on the country charts. 

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