Luke Combs has issued an apology for his past use of Confederate flag imagery in photos and videos saying “there is no excuse for those images.”
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Combs took part in a conversation at the annual Country Radio Seminar where he addressed using the Confederate flag in past photos as well as in the 2015 music video for Ryan Upchurch‘s version of his song “Can I Get an Outlaw.”
“There is no excuse for those images,” Combs said. “I think, as a younger man, that was an image that I associated to mean something else. And as I’ve grown in my time as an artist, and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, I am now aware how painful that image can be to someone else. … I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else.”
Combs continued: “I apologize for being associated with that. 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.’”
Recognizing that he’s “a very highly visible member of the country music community right now,” Combs said he wants to utilize his position for good and help push for change.
Country star Maren Morris was also a part of the panel and indicated she would no longer play festivals or events that display the Confederate flag and called on her fellow musicians to do the same. “I don’t want to play those festivals anymore,” Morris said.
“If you were a Black person, would you ever feel safe going to a show with those flying in the parking lot? No. I feel like the most powerful thing, as artists in our position right now, is to make those demands on large organizations, festivals, promoters. … That’s one of the things we can do is say, ‘No. I’m not doing this. Get rid of them.'”
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