Hannah Brown is taking responsibility for her actions.
During an Instagram Live on Thursday, The Bachelorette star expressed her sorrow for saying of the N-word and opened up about the aftermath of the May incident, in which she used the racial slur while singing the lyrics to DaBaby's song "Rockstar" in a video. Joined by activist Michelle Saahene, Brown explained that the backlash she received has given her a new sense of racial awareness.
"It's has been a journey with ups and down, but I'm so thankful to now be a part of it and learning and figuring out how I can be…," she told Saahene, who is the co-founder of Privilege to Progress, a movement that strives to create awareness and inspire action toward racial justice. "I caused so much hurt because of my ignorance, I now can understand that so much more."
Brown later added, "It was hard to know that I had hurt people. The thing is, it's not the intention, it's the impact…the impact that I had really affected a lot of people."
Recalling the incident, the former Bachelor contestant explained that she was in disbelief over her actions. "[I'd] gone on Instagram Live and unintentionally was singing a TikTok song and said the N-word," she remembered. "And I really didn't even think I said it. I was like, ‘No I wouldn't say that, I know you're not supposed to say that word.' And I just completely did."
"And I realize now that, when it was all happening, I don't know what to do," Brown continued. "I don't know what to say. I know what I said was wrong but I couldn't tell you why I said it. It was really a time where I was feeling really guilty and shamed and kind of went through these waves."
She added, "I know that word was bad, but how did I even let it slip out of my mouth?"
Taking a moment to reflect, Brown admitted, "I really f'd up. And I didn't know anything about how I f'd up because I didn't even think about myself as a race. I thought of myself as normal."
According to the 25-year-old, this realization has encouraged her to educate herself. She said that she has since been working with an ethnic studies professor to do "an intense, dive deep into understanding the things that I didn't know and having these really uncomfortable conversations," calling the experience "a heart change."
"My outlook on life is very different than my Black friends even though we grew up in the same place," she expressed. "Some of the conversations that I've had the past few weeks have been really uncomfortable with people that I love who I know are good people, but that's also what I've learned is just because you're nice doesn't mean you're not racists."
Speaking to the responses she received following the video, Brown said that she was surprised to see "how many people were defending me and defending an act of racism" and said she felt the "need to talk to these white people like me who continue to make excuses and think it's okay when it's not."
On June 5, the Dancing With the Stars champ took to Instagram to urge fans to stop coming to her defense.
"I wholeheartedly take accountability for the disappointment and pain I caused by saying this word and while I know I can't take it back, I can listen, learn, and take action to continue the dialogue and be apart of this historical and necessary change," she wrote. "It is SO important to me to tell y'all that there is no defending what I said."
"E! stands in solidarity with the black community against systemic racism and oppression experienced every day in America," the network said in a statement on May 31. "We owe it to our black staff, talent, production partners and viewers to demand change and accountability. To be silent is to be complicit. #BlackLivesMatter."