Questlove Called Out Bill O’Reilly for Insensitive Remarks About Slavery

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Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Michelle Obama’s speech on Monday at the Democratic National Convention drew wide and enthusiastic praise, and one of the First Lady’s most-quoted sound bites was when she told the crowd, “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.” This, of course, agitated some people who insisted Obama was both incorrect and just trying to be racially divisive. Ever the helpful journalist, Bill O’Reilly dedicated his "Tip of the Day" segment on Tuesday to fact-checking Obama’s statement, and did indeed confirm that the White House was built by both slaves and paid laborers. But then O’Reilly added a detail that is, according to historians, impossible to corroborate and, according to standards of decency, incredibly offensive: “Slaves that worked there were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” The Fox News host has since come under fire for the remarks; he naturally dismissed the criticism as whining. But the most damning indictment from a public figure came Tuesday afternoon by way of Questlove on his Instagram page.

The musician never uses O’Reilly’s name, but he clearly addresses him by saying, “Human Trafficking in any form from today's underage prostitution, to the private Prison System we exercise here in the US, to the Holocaust to 500 years of Slavery--and all other examples I've not mentioned is INHUMANE & Evil.” And then Questlove told his followers, “watch where you get your information from and the company you keep people.” You can read his full remarks below.

Slavery was inhumane. Slavery was sadistic. Slavery was uncomfortable. Slavery was unjust. Slavery was a nightmare. Slavery was a despicable act. Slavery is the pebble whose ripple in the river still resonates on and on and on and on. I'd like to think most of you have common sense. But there is nothing more dangerous than a man in a suit pretending to be a journalist giving revisionist history on the ugliness that was slavery. What's so fun and lighthearted about being shackled? being separated from your loved ones? Being molested and raped HOURLY, being branded with hot iron? being property? being castrated? being flogged? being malnourished? living in high stress conditions? forced to lay in your own feces? being sold in a heartbeat? suppressing ANY emotion (with the surprising exception of singing it was illegal ---lashes or death--to read, write, "talk back" or "sass", cry (how many of you heard "you better NOT cry before I give you something to cry about!"), get angry, or even more surprising LAUGHING (a plantation barrel of water was always in proximity to dunk ones head in so one could express emotions and suppress the sound as to not alert your overseer of your "sassing"---deep history I just learned about laughing and the slave period---the first recorded song "The Laughing Song" was the defiant "F%^k Tha Police" of its day (also where the term "Barrel Of Laughs" gets its origin)---I'm getting beside the point. I dunno if that man's (never say his name) point is to troll at any cost whatsoever but his entire existence is a 5 steps backwards for any progress made in humanity. My dismay is the percentage of people who get their news from memes/headlines/& sources to whom they have 0 clue is feeding them false information. Human Trafficking in any form from today's underage prostitution, to the private Prison System we exercise here in the US, to the Holocaust to 500 years of Slavery--and all other examples I've not mentioned is INHUMANE & Evil. ---watch where you get your information from and the company you keep people.