Several months after its release, Brian McKnight is still feeling the heat over his sexually-explicit song, “If Ur Ready to Learn.” The singer performed at a Baltimore festival on Friday (July 23) but he first had to answer to critics who questioned his involvement in the family-friendly event.
“Of course we were concerned,” events director Sheila Goodwin told the Baltimore Sun. She went on to say that McKnight’s “management confirmed he would never play that song in concert. Never.”
The sexually explicit track, which made its debut in April, shocked many longtime fans who supported the 16-time Grammy nominee known for his romantic R&B hits. In the midst of the controversy he riled Chris Brown with a tweet aimed at the mercurial R&B star.
SEE BACKSTORY: Chris Brown And Brian McKnight Tweet Beef
Despite the controversy, Artscape Festival organizers stand by their decision to book McKnight for the show. They point out that the singer has long been a dream act for the festival long before the controversy.
“We’ve been trying to get him and this year the price was right,” said Goodwin. “He’s a great adult contemporary urban act. He’d be great to have on any bill.”
For his part, McKnight maintains that the song was always intended to be a parody of today’s more profane R&B scene. He said he never had any intentions to perform the track live.
“Even though people have been asking for it during shows, ‘If Ur Ready to Learn’ is a song that’s musically incredible to me,” he said, “but it should only be used in the bedroom.”
—Keith Murphy, CBS Local