Country singer Luke Combs apologised unequivocally on Wednesday for past use of the Confederate flag, saying, “I’m trying to learn, I’m trying to get better”. But is Luke Combs “cancelled” for what he did?

What did Luke Combs apologise for?

In conversation with Maren Morris and critic Ann Powers on Country Radio Seminar, country music singer-songwriter Luke Combs apologised for his past use of the Confederate flag during live performances.

Since the release of his song The Great Divide, Combs has faced backlash over photographs from several years ago. 

“There’s no excuse for those images,” he told Powers and Morris on Wednesday. “As a younger man, that was an image I associated to mean something else. As I’ve grown in my time as an artist, I am now aware how painful that image can be to someone else.”

He continued: “No matter what I thought at the time, I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else. […] Hate,” Combs said, “is not part of my core values.”

is luke combs cancelled
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – NOVEMBER 11: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Luke Combs attends the 54th annual CMA Awards at the Music City Center on November 11, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMA)

Is Luke Combs ‘cancelled’?

Rather than receiving condemnation, Combs’ admission and apology have garnered a significant amount of appreciation and support from Twitter users.

While some have chosen to amplify Combs’ voice:

Others have taken the opportunity to invite Luke Combs to appreciate southern culture in more nuanced ways (than associating with the Confederate flag).

Meanwhile, another user identified with Combs’ youthful ignorance. Tom Mailey wrote, “Heck, when I was young, I looked at the confederate flag as a symbol of youthful rebelliousness.” 

On the same day as Luke Combs’ discussion on Country Radio Seminar, CBS asked the question: Is country music going through a reckoning?

Rescheduled, not cancelled

Given the reaction from Twitter, and the comments on his latest YouTube uploads, it appears safe to say that Luke Combs is not “cancelled” as a result of his contribution to country music’s “reckoning”.

On the video for unreleased original, Growin’ Up and Gettin’ Old, one commenter said, “he can’t make a bad song.”

Another wrote: “Mr. Combs you keep me going and you’re the only person I listen to every single day and I never get tired of your music. You’re amazing keep bringing joy to the world.”

In just two days, the video has already picked up 14,000 Thumbs Up on YouTube. It has also racked up over 166K views.

So it would appear that Combs remains popular with his fan base. But there is one way in which he has experienced a “cancellation” of sorts…

Rolling Stone reported in July 2020 that Luke Combs’ 2020 tour dates were to be rescheduled – not cancelled, per se – for 2021.

Instead, Combs’ tour dates for 2021 will run between June and December, from Albuquerque to Boston. He will also play in Nevada, California and Colorado, as well as several other states.

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