Pop megastar Shawn Mendes has apologized for writing several racially insensitive tweets from as early as 2012, after a fan brought up the issue at a recent Q&A session.
“This is kind of a hard question, I don’t want you to take any offense to it at all, I just kind of wanted to do it for black Twitter, black Shawn stans everywhere out there,” the fan asked. “In the past, there’s a lot of kind of ignorant tweets, I guess I could say, kind of hurtful, offensive tweets that you’d tweeted before.”
The questioner went on to ask why some of the posts, which were written in 2012 and 2013, have been deleted without acknowledgment.
“Why has it never been acknowledged? … We get a lot of hate for us supporting you, knowing that this has been, like, your past. And not to say that this is you now, or anything like that, it’s just really important for us to know, like, how you are,” the girl asked.
Mendes responded by arguing that it happened many years ago, at a time when he did not anticipate the level of success and fame he would achieve in the intervening years.
“I just think that a lot of things just need to be moved on from,” the singer replied. “But I also think that the things that were saw, like I had friends when I was 14 who would, like, take my phone and, like, post things of them. Because they thought it was funny that I had like 2,000 followers and it was this big thing, and they’d post photos of themselves.”
Fan asks Shawn Mendes why he hasn’t addressed old racially insensitive posts:
“A lot of things I think need to be moved on from, but also I had friends when I was like 14 who would take my phone and post things of them and they thought it was funny…I apologize for everything.” pic.twitter.com/lP49WUzmXi
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) August 20, 2019
Some of Mendes’s posts involved him tweeting phrases such as “I can see the black coming out in you Lauren,” “I’m black, burnt up ya knoe,” and “Light skinned girls >>.”
He also reportedly referred to his friend as “mah n***ah” in an Instagram post.
“At the time I was just, like, not thinking about it. I had no idea I was going to have 50 million followers. Which doesn’t make it any better, but um, yeah, totally,” the Grammy nominated singer said. “I mean, I apologize for everything insensitive I said in the past, but with that being said, yeah, I think that’s not my personality.”
Following the Q&A session, Mendes took to social media to expand on his apology.
“I posted some racially insensitive comments on social media when I was younger, and I am so sorry,” he wrote. “I apologize wholeheartedly for what was said [and] understand how offensive those posts were. There is no place for comments like that, and those words do not represent who I am. I stand for complete inclusivity, equality, [and] love.”
— Shawn Mendes (@ShawnMendes) August 24, 2019
At the mere age of 21, Mendes is one of the most popular and successful young pop stars of the last decade. With tens of millions of followers across social media and billions of song plays, he was listed last year on Time magazine’s list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.