In a recent interview with Apple Music 1’s Nadeska, R&B crooner Daniel Caesar opened up about his latest album Never Enough, as well as facing public scrutiny for controversial comments made about Black people.
In 2019, Daniel defended comments made by “canceled” influencer YesJulz about Scottie Beam and Karen Civil after the two women claimed the Caucasian blogger was exploiting Black culture.
Julz also caught heat for tweeting out a t-shirt that read, “Ni**as lie a lot,” leading her to become known as a “culture vulture” and “culture appropriator.”
At the time, the “Best Part” crooner went on Instagram to defend his friend, where he not only admitted to being intoxicated, but also admitted: “I’m trying to get canceled right now.”
He added, “Why are we being so mean to Julz? Why are we being so mean to white people right now? That’s a serious question. Why is it that we’re allowed to be disrespectful and rude to everybody else and when anybody returns any type of energy to us. That’s not equality. I don’t wanna be treated like I can’t take a joke.”
“White people have been mean to us in the past, yeah, but what are you going to do about it? Tell me what you’re going to do about that? There’s no answer, other than creating and understanding and keeping it moving. You have to bridge that gap,” he said.
His rant caused him major backlash, including his 2019 album Case Study 01 not doing as well as his debut album Freudian in 2017. He later apologized for his offensive comments.
While speaking with Nadeska, she brought up his “cancelation” and asked of his perspective now, reflecting on the past.
“I completely understand the response,” he said. “And in time, after taking time to get over myself and to really honestly look at myself and everything that was happening, I was wrong. I was wrong, and I’m sorry about that. For a long time, I was like, ‘You can’t do anything, you can’t say anything without whatever.'”
“You can do and say whatever you want, but it’s like for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. And that’s physics, that’s science. That’s one of those things that the knowledge of that can literally put my mind at ease where I’m like, oh, I did deserve. What happened, happened because I deserved it, because I knocked the domino over and set a course in motion,” he added.
Caesar did admit that at the time, he numbed himself to the backlash from strangers.
“You learn not to trust what people on the internet have to say and what people that you don’t know have to say,” he expressed. “Seeing that people that I do know that I care about, them being hurt, then it’s like, ‘ah, damn, all right.’ I was like, ‘okay, you know me.’ It’s because it’s seeing that people that know me, because I felt in my— Clearly my ego is going out of control.”
He went on, “I felt in that moment that I could say what I had said and the context of who I am would be taken into account. But I guess people don’t know who I am. I thought at the time that I was saying something, meaning well, but it didn’t, and it hurt people and I don’t want to hurt anybody. That’s really, that’s not what I do. That’s not what I’m interested in doing.”
Caesar, 28, also realized that he did hurt people in that moment with his comments. Nadeska also brought up that the person he was defending “was someone who we feel like had taken a lot from Black culture and not appreciated it, and then disrespected Black women who are.”
She added, “We always feel underrepresented and no one is speaking up on our behalf.”
In response to Nadeska’s sentiments, he explained, “Yeah, it’s really when I think about it, it was like, ‘yeah, it was the perfect storm, honestly.’ I just mean it’s kind of crazy how awful that was. Throughout the process in the last few years it was so often, it’s like, ‘so that was a mistake.'”
“So either we stop playing the game or we keep playing the game. Those are my only options. It’s like people every day, you wake up and they’re like, ‘You should kill yourself.’ It’s like, ‘all right, I’m going to kill myself’ or ‘I’m going to keep going.'”
Through it all, he admits that he’s learned a lot about himself and the world to prepare him for the kind of music he’d like to make going forward.
“I just put it all into the music,” Daniel revealed. “And that’s kind of like I was saying like, at this point, after having punished myself, after having been punished, it’s like at this point you got to just keep making music.”
“I want to make music that leads people somewhere as opposed to music that can pacify them or make them feel good. I want to make music that makes people want to change their life. Truly inspiring music.”
Take a look at Daniel Caesar and Nadeska’s full interview for Apple Music 1 below.