Throughout his career, dating back to his years with The Beatles, Paul McCartney has been known as a supporter of civil rights issues and a fan of black music. However, McCartney admits that during his youth, he would unwittingly use racist language.
“When I was a kid, you were racist without knowing it,” he explains to The Daily Mail. “It was just the normal thing to use certain words that you wouldn’t use now.”
Sir Paul notes that he eventually realized how hurtful using those words were by observing how people reacted to them.
“I don’t think until then we’d ever even thought about other people,” he adds. “It was like a joke between ourselves.”
Meanwhile, during a BBC radio interview last month, McCartney revealed that Oprah Winfrey had unsuccessfully tried to discourage him from collaborating with Kanye West because of the rapper’s frequent use of the N-word in his songs. Of his decision to work with West, Paul tells The Daily Mail, “Kanye’s an artist…He can say what he wants. It’s the freedom of speech, literally.”
Further commenting about West using the N-word in his music, McCartney maintains that “to a lot of black people, particularly younger black people, it’s almost a term of endearment.”
The ex-Beatles star adds, “It’s a slang word, and I think the good thing about it is that it kind of takes the sting out of it. It just becomes a word, rather than the derogatory word it could be used as.”