UPDATED: Carlos Santana has apologized for his comments in a post shared on Facebook. The 76-year-old singer included a portion of the statement he shared with Billboard earlier today but added a more direct apology in the first paragraph. Read the addition below.
“I am sorry for my insensitive comments. They don’t reflect that I want to honor and respect all person’s ideals and beliefs. I realize that what I said hurt people and that was not my intent. I sincerely apologize to the transgender community and everyone I offended.”
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PREVIOUSLY: Carlos Santana is on the hot seat after a video of him on stage, making polarizing remarks about gender, quickly began circulating online.
In the clip, the “Oye Como Va” singer is seen addressing the audience in between songs. Through the applause, Santana can be heard explaining: “When God made you and me — before we came out of the womb, you know who you are and what you are. Later on, when you grow out of it, you see things, and you start believing that you could be something that sounds good, but you know it ain’t right. Because a woman is a woman and a man is a man. That’s it. Whatever you wanna do in the closet, that’s your business. I’m OK with that.”
The clip ends with Santana lining one hand behind the other, and adding that he was “Like this with my brother Dave Chappelle.”
Chappelle has generated anger over the last few years regarding jokes that many perceive as being anti-trans. Minneapolis’ First Avenue club canceled a Chappelle comedy show due to the backlash and even apologized to the community for booking the comedian, vowing to keep the club a “safe space.” After the release of his Netflix special, “The Closer,” which included harmful remarks from the 49-year-old comedian about the transgender community, numerous Netflix employees and allies staged a protest.
According to numerous reports, Santana made this speech during one of his concerts in Atlantic City last month. He’s since issued an extremely vague statement to Billboard on the matter, writing: “Here is my personal goal that I strive to achieve every day. I want to honor and respect all person’s ideals and beliefs whether they are LGBTQ or not. This is the planet of free will and we have all been given this gift.”
He continued, “I will now pursue this goal to be happy and have fun, and for everyone to believe what they want and follow in your hearts without fear. It takes courage to grow and glow in the light that you are and to be true, genuine, and authentic. We grow and learn to shine our light with Love and compliments. Have a glorious existence. Peace.”
In recent weeks, several other rock musicians have added to the conversation with similar comments. Paul Stanley and Dee Snider have been criticized for describing gender-affirming care for kids as a “sad and dangerous fad.” (Snider was consequently dropped off of the lineup for San Francisco Pride.)
Alice Cooper also offered his two cents on the matter in a recent interview with Stereogum: “I’m understanding that there are cases of transgender, but I’m afraid that it’s also a fad,” he said. “I find it wrong when you’ve got a six-year-old kid who has no idea. He just wants to play, and you’re confusing him telling him, ‘Yeah, you’re a boy, but you could be a girl if you want to be.'”
A representative for Santana did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
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