Henrico student who played racially-explicit song apologizes, says it was a mistake

HENRICO COUNTY, Va (WRIC) — The student who played a racist song over the PA before last Friday’s Glen Allen High School football game apologized Thursday night.

“I’m deeply sorry for those to I have offended and especially to the John Marshall community,” said Najee Lawrence, a senior and football player.

Lawrence says the racially explicit song played over his high school’s loudspeakers was a mistake.

The team was playing John Marshall High.

“I downloaded each song from YouTube individually and without listening to them, I put them on the list,” said Lawrence.

He says he thought he had downloaded a Kanye West song that was titled as such, but a few minutes in, it turned out to be a parody, filled with racial slurs and offensive content.

“In no way am I making excuses for my actions. I’ve humbly accepted my punishment and have learned from my mistake,” said Lawrence.

School officials say disciplinary action has been taken. But they applaud Lawrence for his courage.

“I want to be crystal clear in stating that the burden of this doesn’t fall on his shoulders,” said Glen Allen High School Dr. Gwen Miller.

This week, school leaders decided to change the screening process for playlists at school events. Now two people will have to listen and approve each song two days before they’re played.

“No human being should ever listen to a song like that,” said Dr. Miller.

“The music selection was in poor taste and is in no way representative of our school,” said Varsity Head Coach Keylon Mayo.

“The use of the N word is never acceptable,” said a Henrico mother.

The song has prompted some parents and school leaders to start a discussion about cultural awareness.

How the use of this word has de-sensitized our children to its meaning and the hurtfulness it causes to our African American children,” said the Henrico mother.

“Let’s talk why young people feel it’s ok to use words either of a racial nature or of disparaging of ladies or of each other or anything of that nature,” said John Montgomery, the school board chair.

Montgomery says chair says he promises something like this will never happen again.

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