My Open Letter to Paula Deen

Dear Mrs. Deen,

Like the rest of the country, I've been following you for many years. My mother and both my grandmothers, all spicy southern belles, watch your programs and have purchased several of your products. Just like you, I grew up in the south and far too familiar with the racial tensions we as nation continue to face. Like many, I am saddened by the developments over the last few weeks concerning you and your brand.

There are so many schools of thought about race relations, by far the most sensitive issue this melting pot of the world has yet to master. Should you use language that historically belittles and is designed to emasculate the intended recipient? Absolutely not. Can the context of said words and related phrases be used with no malicious intent? I believe so, but warn of harsh consequences due to the shades of gray that cloud such conversations.

The backlash you are experiencing is due in part to fear. A precedent is being made about how we handle racism amongst the privileged. I disagree that you should be engaged in such an offensive against your character. You actually admitted wrongdoing and apologized. We've all seen folks in leadership whether political, religious, business or cultural, lie, cheat and steal, get exposed, then work to pick up the pieces of their shattered image, some unsuccessfully.

I don't think you are a racist, not even by osmosis. I will venture to assume however, given your age and upbringing, there may be some tendencies unbeknownst to even you.

You got it right replacing your agent. Definitely the first step, in the first phase of your brand elevation strategy. Next, take the summer off. Call it a little Kanyecation. Use this time to reflect on the what has transpired, the condition of your spirit and which the app your new and improved brand will dominate. What an awesome opportunity to partner with Oprah Winfrey. You should be at the forefront of this conversation, most importantly, focus on forgiveness and liberty that comes with changing one's own heart. Everyone wins with you on the OWN network this Spring, showing off your new health conscious recipes.

I was raised on the principle that if you don't forgive, you can't be forgiven. I'm already saved by grace and can't risk the favor on my life. Please be advised, this second chance may be your last, stay honest and genuine.

All the very best to you,


PS, #SpeakLife and value the power of forgiveness. It feels so good y'all!