In his first major interview since February, when a video of him using the n-word at the end of a night of partying led to his swift removal from the spotlight, Morgan Wallen is opening up about the incident.

“It just happened,” he told Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan on Friday of the night in question, explaining that it was the last night of weekend filled with partying with some “longtime friends” who were in town.

“We say dumb stuff together. In our minds, it’s playful,” Morgan continued. “It sounds ignorant, but that’s really where it came from.”

He went on to say that his use of the word wasn’t intended to be derogatory, explaining the mistake came from ignorance and adding, “I don’t think I sat down and was like, ‘Hey, is this right or is this wrong?’”

After the tape’s release, Morgan’s promising path toward superstardom came screeching to a halt. His record label suspended his contract and his music was removed from a variety of radio networks and streaming services.

During the months that followed, Morgan says he accepted invitations to speak with advocacy organization the Black Music Action Coalition, and also with other prominent Black music industry members, like Kevin Liles, Eric Hutcherson and gospel singer BeBe Winans.

Morgan also spent 30 days in a rehab facility, “Just trying to figure it out,” he explained.  “Why am I acting this way? Do I have an alcohol problem?”

He also donated $500,000 to BMAC and other Black-focused organizations. The figure is what he and his team estimated he made from the spike in his album sales following the incident.  Regarding that, Strahan asked Wallen if he felt country music has a race problem.

“I mean…it would seem that way, yeah,” Morgan replied, though he added, “I haven’t really sat and thought about that.” 

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