Darius Rucker Details His Own Experiences With Racism: ‘I Can’t Live Like That Anymore’
In the days following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis, Darius Rucker posted a lengthy letter to his social media platforms, explaining that Floyd's death "breaks me down to my core," and promising that he'd no longer "perpetuate the myth that things are okay."
Keeping his word, Rucker speaks out in a new interview with Today, detailing his own experiences with racism, particularly throughout his music career. The singer and songwriter found fame in the '90s with his rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, before beginning a successful solo career in country music.
Within two traditionally white genres, Rucker says, as a Black man, he's experienced racism firsthand. To Today's Harry Smith, the artist recalls being told during radio station visits that his music wouldn't be played because he's Black.
"Really, you get to the point where you go, 'That's just how it is,'" Rucker says. "But I can't live like that anymore ..."
Rucker is prepared to potentially lose fans over his comments ("I'm sure I've already lost fans," he says), and knows the risks of speaking up. "One sentence could end your career in country music. It's proven," he notes, pointing to the blackballing of the Chicks after Natalie Maines criticized then-President George W. Bush onstage in 2003. But he's doing it for his kids.
"Watching them go through this ... They're just at that age now when they have to look at it," Rucker explains. He's had conversations about how to act around police with his three children, Daniella, Caroline and Jack — "especially my son," the singer adds. "My son's the youngest, and he's about to start driving ..."
"I don't want that for my boy. I don't want that for my daughters," Rucker adds, alluding to the too-frequent deaths of Black men and women during police encounters. "I don't want that for anybody."
Rucker shares that he's been stopped by police himself. "Of course, when they recognize me, everything's cool," he says of the incidents. But, he adds, "I know I wasn't speeding; I know I was doing that. I got stopped 'cause I was a black guy in an expensive car."
Rucker, 54, says that while he's lived with racism his whole life, the protests and calls for change that have been taking place in the United States in recent weeks "feels different."
"And I hope I'm right," he adds.
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