We all know the pattern: A celebrity expresses an opinion that contradicts progressive dogma, gets hit with backlash, and then apologizes profusely and promises never to have an original thought again. 

This happened recently with Judy Blume, who was bullied out of supporting J.K. Rowling; with Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass, who apologized for backing the Bud Light and Target boycotts; and with Taylor Swift, Lizzo, and Beyonce retroactively editing their music to appease critics. 

Luckily, we’ve also seen some celebrities (usually those who already have a semi-conservative base) stand their ground. Think of Jason Aldean (or his wife). Now, it appears we can add R&B singer Ne-Yo to that list. 

Millennials like me will know Ne-Yo from his song “Time of Our Lives” with Pitbull. The rest of the world seemed to discover him earlier this month after he questioned “gender-affirming care” for children during an interview

“I have no problem with LBGT … I have no problem with nobody, OK? Love who you love, do what you do,” he 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.”

Ne-Yo is no conservative, but went on to criticize the cultural narrative that parents aren’t allowed to question their children’s “gender identity.”

“I feel like parents have almost forgotten what the role of a parent is,” he said. “If your little boy comes to you and says, ‘Daddy, I want to be a girl.’ And you just let him rock with that? … If you let this 5-year-old little boy eat candy all day, he’s gonna do that. Like, 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 themselves? When did that happen? Like, I don’t understand that.”

He also mentioned a California bill that could result in a parent losing custody of children whose “gender identity” he or she chooses not to affirm. 

But what used to be known as “common sense” and “good parenting” is now bigotry. 

Following backlash, his Twitter account posted a statement on Aug. 6 saying, “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. 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.”

This statement, however, evidently didn’t come from the singer himself. On Aug. 7, Ne-Yo posted a video on his Instagram account in which he said, “This is something I feel very strongly on, and I need y’all to hear this from the horse’s mouth, not the publicist’s computer.”

He strongly refuted the language in the prepared apology that came from his account. 

“First and foremost, I do not apologize for having an opinion on this matter,” he continued. “I am a 43-year-old heterosexual man raising five boys and two girls. That’s my reality. … My intention is never to offend anybody. However, I’m entitled to feel how I feel. … I will never be okay with allowing a child to make a decision that [is] detrimental to their life. … If I get canceled for this, you know what? Maybe this is a world where they don’t need a Ne-Yo no more.”

By speaking out against cancel culture (and the apology apparently dashed off by a scared publicist), Ne-Yo set a powerful precedent. Rather than cave to the critics, he stood his ground and, hopefully, will inspire others to do the same. When celebrities stand up to cancel culture, they make it just a little easier for us to do the same.