Indiana State University Student’s TikTok Video Sparks National Controversy

An Indiana State University (ISU) student has found herself at the center of a national controversy after posting a TikTok video criticizing Beyoncé and Black Americans. The video, which was posted shortly after the release of Beyoncé’s country album “Cowboy Carter” on March 28, featured the student saying, “I’m sorry, but if you’re Black, you’re not country.”

Student's Controversial Comments Go Viral

The student, identified as Asa Blanton on social media, went on to say, “I know you were raised in the country or your grandparents were, but they were picking, they weren’t planting. They weren’t making any money. They were getting sold for money.” The video quickly went viral, attracting the attention of TikTok content creator “Tizzyent,” or Michael McWhorter, who has over 6.2 million followers.

McWhorter slammed Blanton’s video, saying, “It’s ok if its not your cup of tea, like maybe you don’t like country music. What’s not ok is that you think Black people don’t belong in country music.” He explained that country music has its roots in the spirituals and field songs of Black slaves, and that the banjo is a Black instrument.

The controversy has sparked a national conversation about the role of race in country music and the broader issue of racism and discrimination in American society. Many people have expressed outrage at Blanton’s comments, calling them ignorant and offensive.

University's Response Criticized by Students

ISU student Emani Marks criticized the university’s slow response to the incident, saying, “The zero-tolerance policy is not there, and I don’t want this situation to just go away.” Marks and other students protested on Monday during Eclipse Day, calling for the university to take action against Blanton.

The university has since issued a statement saying that they are aware of the video and are monitoring the situation, noting that Blanton’s comments do not align with the school’s views. However, for Marks and others, a simple statement is not enough.

“I want this situation to be an example, so the school knows there are minority students here whose lives are being interrupted,” said Marks. The ISU Black Alumni Network has also issued a statement demanding that the university president address the issue immediately.

Controversy Highlights National Issue

McWhorter spoke to News 8 about why the incident is not just an Indiana issue, but a national one, saying, “Allowing this stuff to be put in the world and just acting like it didn’t happen, or ignoring it, or addressing it in very strict terms begets more of that.”

The controversy has highlighted the ongoing issue of racism and discrimination in the United States, particularly in the context of higher education. Many students and activists have called for universities to take a stronger stance against hate speech and to provide more support for minority students.

The incident has also underscored the need for greater education and awareness about the history and contributions of Black Americans to American culture, including the role of Black musicians in the development of country music.

The Future of ISU and Beyond

As the controversy continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how ISU will respond and what actions, if any, will be taken against Blanton. The incident has put the university in the national spotlight and has raised questions about its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Some students and alumni have called for Blanton to be expelled from the university, while others have argued that she should be given the opportunity to learn from her mistake and engage in dialogue with those she has offended.

Regardless of the outcome, the controversy has highlighted the need for ongoing conversations about race, diversity, and inclusion on college campuses and in society as a whole. As McWhorter noted, ignoring or downplaying incidents like this only serves to perpetuate the problem.