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ALGOP wants apology after Rep. Givan berates Rep. Paschal

State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, a Democrat from Birmingham, lambasted Rep. Kenneth Paschal, a Republican from Pelham who is the only Black member of his party in the Alabama Legislature, using a racial slur while referencing a song by Jay-Z.

“When Jay-Z penned that song, he penned that song for a time such as this,” Givan said from the House floor. “You want me to sing it?”

The debate centered on Paschal’s bill on parental rights, which House Democrats opposed. While Givan did not fully quote the lyrics or use the N-word, she used the song’s message to belittle Paschal repeatedly.

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“Don’t matter how you come in here, no matter how you leave, you still one. When you sit down, you still one … That’s the story of OJ.

“Still one. Still one. Still one.”

The Alabama GOP has called for Givan to apologize.

“There is no place for bigotry or racial slurs in any part of our local, state, or federal government,” Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl said. “Kenneth Paschal is a father, son, friend, loved one, veteran, man of faith, and duly elected representative and does not deserve to be racially attached on the house floor.

“The Alabama Republican Party strongly condemns Representative Juandalynn Givan of District 60 for her premeditated and inappropriate statements toward a fellow member of the Alabama House of Representatives. I call on her to apologize to Representative Kenneth Paschal immediately.”

On Thursday, in written statements and during House proceedings, Givan refused to apologize.

“I made reference to a rap song by a Black rapper which I have mentioned several times previously, on the House floor without any prior objection, because it was germane to the discussion of the bill,” she said. “That was not my first time referencing that song. So if they interpreted that song the way they did, then they should be apologetic themselves, because it’s a matter of interpretation.

“So, the question today I leave you with is, how did they interpret it?”

This was also not Givan’s first aggressive outburst during official proceedings. In 2019, she unleashed on then-Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, repeatedly shouting obscenities.

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At that time, she apologized.

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270 for coverage of the 2023 legislative session. 

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