John Mayer, or the boy who never grew up.

According to my twitter feed, John Mayer – popular singer/songwriter responsible for the Grammy-winning 2006 song “Waiting on the World to Change” – is now a racist. I’m not usually one to buy in to celebrity gossip buzz, but when I hear about an artist whose music I usually enjoy using the n-word in an interview, it requires some further research. I found a transcript of Mayer’s confessional interview with Playboy that started this whole mess. I do not recommend reading it unless you feel ready to confront your ideas about this once wholesome-seeming songster.

I read the entire article, every word from Mayer painting a clearer portrait of this artist I thought I had a pretty clear grasp on already. What strikes me most is the idea that an artist, or more specifically, a celebrity, can cultivate whatever public image he or she wants. I acknowledge that I have been living under a rock in respect to Mayer’s tabloid life in the past few years since he first got together with Jessica Simpson. I did not care for John Mayer, the celebrity, so I paid him no attention. I still had the thoughtful, politically conscious Mayer of 2006’s Continuum in my head.

Now, faced with Mayer’s own words, I see a 32-year-old boy who missed out on the college fraternity life and now has to make up for lost time. I also see a rock star who does not know when to stop talking. In one interview, Mayer managed to offend not only the black community, but the gays, women, and Margaret Cho. In her blog (which I highly recommend), she points out who the real victims of Mayer’s blunder are: the love-struck teenage girls with posters of him above their beds who happen to not look like Jessica Simpson.

It also makes me wonder about a double standard in our society that allows Mayer to get away with this lack of discretion. As a gay man who used to watch Grey’s Anatomy every week, the 2006 uproar between Isaiah Washington and T.R. Knight did not go unnoticed by me. Washington, who called the then-closeted Knight a faggot during an argument with Patrick Dempsey, was promptly and publicly dismissed from the show following the media onslaught caused by his mistakes. A sincere apology from Washington was not enough to sway the producers of the show to let him stay. What if a white actor made those statements? Would he find himself without a job? I doubt it. The situation would most likely be similar to what we have with Mayer now: a few slaps on the wrist, a tearful apology, and perhaps a few lost fans.

Some say racism is inescapable, but I disagree. Maybe, instead of waiting on the world to change, we could make positive motions towards a more harmonious existence – actually working towards a real change, even if our reach doesn’t extend past our own hearts.

I’m interested in how you guys feel on this issue.

Feel free to weigh in.

    • P-didy Moss
    • February 15th, 2010

    Forgive and move on. Celebrities will always say stupid shit, something will always be offensive… life. 🙂

    • Teresa
    • February 15th, 2010

    I appreciate your discussion of this issue….and your discernment….

  1. It’s interesting… I feel like some of his songs and comments regarding his love affair with Jennifer Aniston are so thoughtful and show that he’s an upstanding guy, and then he goes and says stuff like this. I really like his music, and I’m sure I’ll continue to be a fan, but I was definitely offended by what he said. Why is it that he says f** in the same sentence as hate and that he says n***** right after calling his penis a white supremacist? It’s because these words are and always will be negatively charged. I’m bummed about his comments, appreciate his apology, and definitely think he should be forgiven (eventually), but he’s going to need to prove to me that he’s not going to pull this kind of crap again… Feel free to check out what I have to say about it on my blog.

    • Andrew
    • February 15th, 2010

    Yeah, so….I like him even less now, haha. I mean, as I told you before I have never followed him closely, so I did find out a few good things to add to my opinion of him other than his great songwriting abilities. For example, his ability to speak well and even clever (when not pierced with his obnoxious tendencies), as well as his sort of revealing feelings for Jennifer Anniston shed a positive light on him, making him more real than caricature to me. But unfortunately that was not all that he said in the interview. In fact most of it was padded with pompous, even hypocritical statements. It was honest, I can appreciate that, but as you said he doesn’t know when to shut up. He makes these grandiose claims about his image both before and after fame, and how he doesn’t give a shit about what publicity does to him now, only to recant that after this interview was publicized…saying he’s finally “out of the media game”. He digs his own grave and then word vomits into it. It’s annoying to say the least. Now, of course there are reasons for this. There always are. And I’m sure there is an outlook of sympathy one could take toward Mayer and excuse his behavior. But that doesn’t excuse his poor choices just as a sympathetic motive doesn’t excuse murder. So it comes down to how much you have invested in Mayer. Myself, I’ve never cared for him as a person. Cockiness rubs me the wrong way. The fact this article screams arrogance exacerbates my issue with him. As for what is being focused on most – the racist comments and stuff. That’s more disappointing. I agree there is a double standard. If Tim McGraw had beat up Faith Hill, I’m not sure the reaction would’ve been the same as with Chris Brown and Rihanna. But that’s all conjecture. I get the feeling Mayer believes he is trying to do right by other ppl, even if it is for selfish reasons. And I’m not sure he is so much a racist, as he is a narcissist, but that would take way more research and caring than I have to spare his way. My final comments towards this is just that he should’ve taken his 40-year old self’s advice and gone to the zoo. But sadly, his immaturity even deflects the advice of his own subconscious. I personally hope Jennifer Anniston starts making good music. That’d be awesome 😀

    • Hobo Joe
    • February 16th, 2010


    • theyearofme
    • February 16th, 2010

    You’d be surprised how many people actually fit this description. I’ve never been a huge fan but DAMN does he just drop off the radar for me now. It’s sad that someone of such small mindedness is looked at with such regard.
    He’s one of the typical needs-to-be-a-bachelor-forever men. Hit it and quit it and it never gets old! ugh.
    So he’s a two-timing racist SOB. Glad to see he makes millions and is popularized as being a pop icon. GREAT.

    • Tony
    • February 16th, 2010

    Changing the world is a noble mission, to have a positive influence in the world, one-thought, one-action, one-person at a time, beginning with one-self and radiating peace outward is an expedition worthy of hero’s.

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