Rolling Stones Retire ‘Brown Sugar’ Due to Lyrics on Slavery, Black Women

In Summary

The Rolling Stones have retired their song "Brown Sugar" due to its controversial and offensive lyrics about Black women.  

The Rolling Stones retired the song “Brown Sugar” due to its lyrics about slavery and sexualizing Black women and girls.  

On the band’s most recent tour, the song was removed from the setlist. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, 77-year-old band guitarist Keith Richards discussed the removal of the song.  

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He said, “I’m trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is. Didn’t they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery? But they’re trying to bury it. At the moment, I don’t want to get into conflicts with all of this s–t.”  

According to CNN, the song was released in 1971 and referenced a woman sold into slavery. It begins with the lyrics, “Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields. Sold in the market down in New Orleans. Skydog slaver know he’s doin’ all right. Hear him whip the women just around midnight.”  

Problematic lyrics continue with the chorus saying, “Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good. Brown Sugar, just like a young girl should.” 

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In 1995, Mick Jagger said he would have censored himself and not written that song in modern times. Although Jagger is aware of the song’s issues, Richards wants to bring it back. He said, “…I’m hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track.”  

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