“Sorry, Blame It On Me”
The Song: “Sorry, Blame It on Me” by Akon
Main Point of Discussion: When we mess up and make mistakes, we need to admit them, correct them, and move on.
Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)
- Akon (born Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam on April 30, 1973) is a Senegalese-American hip-hop and R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer. Akon rose to fame in 2004 following the release of his single “Locked Up” from his debut album Trouble. His second album, Konvicted, earned him a Grammy nomination for the single “Smack That.”
- In April 2007, Akon drew criticism for a raunchy dance with a fourteen year old girl (during which he simulated sex with her) at a Trinidad club. The incident was filmed by Akon’s crew and later uploaded to the Internet. On April 20 local media aired the video clip. Universal Music Group did not take action against Akon, but rather simply ordered the video clip removed from YouTube due to copyright infringement. Conservative commentator and Parents Television Council founder Brent Bozel called this “corporate irresponsibility.”
- “Sorry, Blame It on Me” is an apology to the young girl for the incident at the club (and to Gwen Stefani for messing up their tour).
- At THE SOURCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY we like to use pop culture references to start biblical conversation (just like the Apostle Paul used culture to start conversations about Jesus in Acts 17). This music video might be a good discussion starter in some circles. Use your discernment.
- If you want, you can print out the lyrics (below) and give each student a copy to refer to.
- Keep in mind that the official version of the song includes a few profanities, but there’s also a cleaned-up version performed at the Teen Choice Awards. (The uncensored version is easily heard via YouTube.)
- Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.
The Music Video:
The song’s video can be found at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynMk2EwRi4Q
Song’s Lyrics: (clean version)
As life goes on I’m starting to learn more and more about responsibility
I realize everything I do is affecting the people around me
So I want to take this time out to apologize for things I have done
And things that have not occurred yet
And the things they don’t want to take responsibility for
I was on the road and you were alone
I’m sorry for the times that I had to go
I’m sorry for the fact that I did not know
That you were sitting home just wishing we
Could go back to when it was just you and me
I’m sorry for the times I would neglect
I’m sorry for the times I disrespect
I’m sorry for the wrong things that I’ve done
I’m sorry I’m not always there for my son
I’m sorry for the fact that I’m not aware
That you can’t sleep at night when I am not there
Because I am in the streets like every day
Sorry for the things that I did not say
Like how you are the best thing in my world
And how I’m so proud to call you my girl
I understand that there are some problems
And I am not too blind to know
All the pain you kept inside you
Even though you might not show
If I can apologize for being wrong
Then it’s just a shame on me
I’ll be the reason for your pain and you can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me [4x]
Said you can put the blame on me [3x]
You can put the blame on me
Sorry for the things that he put you through
And all the times you didn’t know what to do
Sorry that you had to go and sell those packs
Just trying to stay busy till you heard from Dad
And you would rather be home with all your kids
As one big family with love and bliss
And even though Pops treated us like kings
He got a second wife and you didn’t agree
He got up and left you there all alone
I’m sorry that you had to do it on your own
I’m sorry that I went and added to your grief
I’m sorry that your son was once a thief
I’m sorry that I grew up way too fast
I wish I would’ve listened and not be so bad
I’m sorry your life turned out this way
I’m sorry that the FEDS came and took me away
I’m sorry that it took so long to see
They were dead wrong trying to put it on me
I’m sorry that it took so long to speak
But I was on tour with Gwen Stefani
I’m sorry for the hand that she was dealt
For the embarrassment that she felt
Just a little young girl trying to have fun
Her daddy should never let her out that young
I’m sorry for Club Zen getting shut down
I hope they manage better next time around
How was I to know she was underage
In a 21 and older club they say
Why doesn’t anybody wanna take blame
Verizon backed out disgracing my name
I’m just a singer trying to entertain
Because I love my fans I’ll take that blame
Even though the blame’s on you [3x]
I’ll take that blame from you
And you can put that blame on me [2x]
You can put that blame on me
And you can put that blame on me
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
Q: What’s the message of this song?
A: Akon is sorry and takes the blame for the bad things he’s done in his life—then he turns things around, singing that he’ll also “take the blame” for others’ mistakes in regard to the incident with the underage girl at the club (for which he actually accepts little or no responsibility).
Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this song?
A: It’s mixed. Akon is right to take ownership of his past sins—but he absolves himself of responsibility for performing on stage a simulated sex-act with a female audience member who turned out to be underage. As Christians we should be wary of Akon’s message—the fact that he performed this act is, in itself, sinful. He’s correct that others bear the responsibility (i.e., the girl’s father, the club that let her in), but he’s also responsible. He hasn’t removed the “plank” from his own eye yet.
Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this song to actually living out those opinions?
A: This song opens up the door to help us all closely examine our motives and shine a giant searchlight into the depths of our hearts. The point being: If there’s even a speck of sin in us, there’s sin in us.
All sin in us that we know of, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, must be confessed to God. If as part of a group “sin,” we must bear our portion of the responsibility, come clean, and repent.
Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.
For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)
Talk to family members about why they think this song is so popular and it seems to connect with so many people. Then say something like: “I’m Sorry, Blame it on Me” shows a different side to most of the hip hop music out there, see if you can pick them out.
More Discussion Questions:
- HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Before we begin, let’s go around the circle and talk about things we’ve seen or done that are in the ‘what was I thinking???’ category. I’ll start…
- HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Do you think Akon would have apologized if the girl wasn’t underage and Verizon didn’t drop its support? Why or why not?
Say Something Like:
The Bible talks a lot about personal responsibility and blame, and we’re going to look at a story of a man who followed God with his whole heart and blew it bigger than you would ever think possible. Let’s see what happened.
Read the following passage from the Bible:
- 2 Samuel 11:1-27
In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.”
Then David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing. Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace. But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.
When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?”
Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”
“Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.
So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers.
Then Joab sent a battle report to David. He told his messenger, “Report all the news of the battle to the king. But he might get angry and ask, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall? Why would you get so close to the wall?’ Then tell him, ‘Uriah the Hittite was killed, too.’”
So the messenger went to Jerusalem and gave a complete report to David. “The enemy came out against us in the open fields,” he said. “And as we chased them back to the city gate, the archers on the wall shot arrows at us. Some of the king’s men were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.”
“Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!”
When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the LORD was displeased with what David had done.
- ASK SOMEONE: What are the main ways that David blew it? (parent—some of the answers you are looking for: having an affair, murder, getting Bathsheba pregnant, etc.)
- ASK SOMEONE: Why did David feel like he could get away with his sins? (parent—the answers you might be looking for: he’s a King, he’s powerful, etc.)
- ASK SOMEONE: How are we sometimes like Akon and David? (parent—the answer you might be looking for: we hide our sins or try to cover them up, etc.)
Say Something Like:
With all of David’s influence and power, he probably thought his sin would never catch up with him, but he forgot about Someone who has infinitely more power and influence—the God of the universe.
Read the following passage from the Bible:
- 2 Samuel 12:1-14
So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”
David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.
“This is what the LORD says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan replied, “Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the LORD by doing this, your child will die.”
- ASK SOMEONE: Would you have been scared if you were Nathan? Why or why not?
- ASK SOMEONE: How do you think David felt after he was caught?
- EVERYONE SHARE: Does apologizing or even writing a song about how we blew it change the consequences? Why or why not?
- EVERYONE SHARE: Can you think of one or two ways you can apply to your lives what we talked about?
CLOSE IN PRAYER
Tonight we talked about an Akon song that showed a very different side of hip-hop—taking responsibility for mistakes—and read a story from the Bible that shows how our mistakes bring consequences. Tonight I want to give you a chance to think about areas in your life you might need to own up to, and people you might need to approach and ask forgiveness from.
Pass out note cards and writing utensils and give your family members some time to write their own versions of “Sorry, Blame it on Me.” Encourage them to go to the people they named in the song and ask for forgiveness. Give them a chance to reflect and pray in silence for a few minutes.