Country singer Luke Combs issued an apology to fans after an old music video featuring the Confederate flag resurfaced online.
The “Better Together” singer, 30, addressed his use of the flag during the annual Country Radio Seminar on Wednesday, February 17, after a 2015 music video he did with country rapper Ryan Upchurch.
“I apologize for being associated with that,” he said. “Hate is not a part of my core values, and it’s not something that I consider a part of myself at all. I’m just looking … not to say, ‘I’m so sorry, please forgive me.’ I’m here to say, ‘I’m trying to learn. I’m trying to get better.’ I know that I’m a very highly visible member of the country music community right now, and I want to use that position for good and to say that people can change, and people do want to change, and I’m one of those people trying.”
Combs — a native of North Carolina — went on to explain that he is “proud” of his Southern roots, adding that the Confederate flag “was an image that I associated to mean something else” when he was growing up. The musician assured fans his views have changed, however.
“I’ve grown in my time as an artist, and as the world has changed drastically … I am now aware how painful that image can be to someone else. And no matter what I thought at the time … I would ever want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else.”
Wallen, 27, was dropped by his record label, Big Loud Records, and several radio stations. The Academy of Country Music later announced that his “potential involvement and eligibility” for the upcoming ACM Awards has been halted.
The “More Than My Hometown” singer revealed on February 10 that he was “nine days sober” following the incident. He also asked fans to stop defending him.
“I let so many people down,” Wallen said. “I let my parents down and they’re the furthest thing from … the person in that video. I let my son down, and I’m not OK with that.”
Wallen continued: “It’s not all that long of a time, but it’s enough to know the man in that video is not the many that I’m trying to be.”