John Mayer is not racist....Get Over It

Five days ago I expressed my excitement regarding the recent Jazz Fest line up announcement via twitter. Minutes later, I received a text from a good friend of mine that read “Your John Mayer obsession is the strangest thing about you!” 

I think “obsession” is an exaggerated description of my fondness to John Mayer. However, since high school thru my current adult life, I have collected all of his albums along with many of his live recordings, when my budget allows it, I have no problem spending a few hundred dollars to see him in concert, and I have actively taught myself how to play many of his songs on my baby Taylor acoustic guitar, which I have named Clayton (John’s middle name).

While I could not careless about who he is dating, if someone called me at 2am and told me that John was jamming at The Bitter End in Greenwich, I would jump on the C train in a heartbeat and race downtown to hear him play even just one song. 

I love John Mayer’s music to the umpteenth degree. 

Unfortunately, most people who know this about me believe that I am wrong for considering him talented, inspirational, and amoung of the greatest musicians of my generation.

Is it wrong for me to love John Mayer’s music? Certainly not. It’s a personal preference. So why do people try to convince me otherwise?

If you do a Google search for “douchebag”, following the urban dictionary’s definition of the word, you will find plenty of articles pointing to John Mayer. 

Suffice to say, many people find John Mayer to be arrogant and obnoxious. Most of the criticism surrounding John has to do with his unflattering and offensive comments regarding black people and particularly black women in a 2010 Playboy Magazine interview.

I have been a major John Mayer fan since 2001. I was a kid when I starting following his music. So it is safe to say that within my circle of friends and acquaintances, nobody was hurt more than I was after reading his remarks. It’s infuriating to even go back and read the disgusting comments. The manner in which he spoke about women in general is still quite appalling. 

Yet here I am in 2013, saving up money to attend the New Orleans’ Jazz Fest in hopes of making it to the front row to see my boy wail on his guitar. 

Though I do not know John personally, I have been lucky enough to meet him on several occasions. Once, he became “nerdy” in a brief conversation about music and song writing. Another time he gave me his guitar pick. And another time, our conversation ended in a hug. Our interactions have never lasted more than five minutes.  And still, my personal experience with John has been the complete opposite of the world’s perception of him. 

Without a doubt, that is no ones fault but his own. 

However, I can’t help feel that if John’s bandmates, who spent more time with him than most and know him better than the rest of us, can forgive him, then certainly I can forgive him too.

It is easy to detach ourselves from people we are not connected to and judge them more harshly, with zero consideration of the catalyst for their actions. 

I think I paid so much attention to John’s music over the years that I don’t need a degree in psychology to understand why, in the past, he has publicly humiliated himself time after time.

John Mayer’s first EP  “Inside Wants Out”, featured a song called “My Stupid Mouth”. He sings about being offensive when, what he really meant, was to be seen as funny so that a particular girl would like him. 

Ironically, John was silenced by granuloma that developed in his throat, preventing him from singing for the past two years. 

Our bodies have an interesting way of forcing us to slow down when we ignore life’s subtle warnings if we begin to lose sight of who we truly are.

I am certain that we have all said hurtful and regrettable things. The only difference is that the entire world did not witness it. 

John Mayer apologized nearly three years ago for his behavior. And I am pretty certain their is another plea for forgiveness in his latest album “Born and Raised”.  I think it’s time we all gave the guy a break. There are worse people in the world that are more deserving of our hatred. 

If somehow John ends up reading this….dude, I need you to know that I am relieved that you have recovered and I am incredibly excited for your return. I am grateful that above all else, you have continued make music about things that matter. 

“It’s better to say too much, than never to say what you need to say again.” JM