Grammy-winning artist Ne-Yo has apologised after facing criticism for controversial remarks he made about trans children and the parents that raise them.
The apology came after a video of a recent interview with Gloria Velez for VladTV was uploaded to YouTube on Saturday (5 August) in which the 43-year-old singer explained his problem with gender-affirming care for trans youth, an issue at the heart of anti-trans legislation in the US, and criticised parents for supporting their child’s gender identity.
“After much reflection, I’d like to express my deepest apologies to anyone that I may have hurt with my comments on parenting and gender identity,” the singer said in a Twitter statement posted on Sunday (6 August).
“I’ve always been an advocate for love and inclusivity in the LGBTQI+ community, so I understand how my comments could’ve been interpreted as insensitive and offensive.
“Gender identity is nuanced and I can honestly admit that I plan to better educate myself on the topic, so I can approach future conversations with more empathy.
“At the end of the day, I lead with love and support everyone’s freedom of expression and pursuit of happiness.”
During the interview with Velez on Thursday (3 August), Ne-Yo, who is a father of seven children, said: “I just personally come from an era where a man was a man and a woman was a woman. And there was two genders, and that’s just how I rocked.
“You could identify as a goldfish if you feel like, I don’t care. That ain’t my business.
“It becomes my business when you try to make me play the game with you. I’m not gonna call you a goldfish. But if you wanna be a goldfish, you go be a goldfish. We live in a weird time, man. We do.”
Later in the interview he questioned parents who support their children identifying as a different gender than the sex they were assigned at birth.
“I feel like parents have almost forgotten what the role of a parent is. If your little boy comes to you and says, ‘Daddy, I want to be a girl.’ And you just let him rock with that? He’s 5 … If you let this 5-year-old boy decide to eat candy all day, he’s gonna do that.
“When did it become a good idea to let a 5-year-old, let a 6-year-old, let a 12-year-old make a life-changing decision for themself? When did that happen? I don’t understand.
“He can’t drive a car yet, but he can decide his sex?” he added.
Following initial backlash, Ne-Yo doubled down on his stance in an Instagram comment reposted by the presenter Velez.
“First and foremost, I CONDEMN NO ONE. Who am I to condemn anybody? Your life, your kids, your choice. I was asked a question and I answered it. My opinion is mine. I’m not asking anybody to agree with me nor am I telling you what you can and cannot do with your children.
“I stated my opinion on a matter and that’s that. Why should I care if my opinion upsets you when you don’t care if yours upsets anyone? Opinions aren’t special. We all have one. People voice them regularly whether they’re asked or not. I was actually asked mine.
“Agreeing to disagree is not a declaration of war. Y’all do whatever the hell y’all want to. But my feelings on the matter are mine. Same way yours are yours. Meanwhile, I love everybody. Don’t agree with some of y’all’s ideals … but love you no less.”