Click photo to enlarge
Rocker Steven Tyler says he did not mean to sound racist when he questioned Nicki Minaj's ability to judge on "American Idol." Evan Agostini/Associated Press archives

Steven Tyler says Nicki Minaj is wrong, and that he's no racist.

And to prove it, he held up a picture and said "I had this black friend in high school ..."

No, that's what other white people do. Not Steven Tyler, who nevertheless issued a semi-apology to Minaj for saying something that didn't seem to insult her race, just her ability to judge talent.

In an interview with MTV, the former "American Idol" judge Tyler questioned whether the new judges -- including Minaj -- were maybe too self-absorbed and lacked the ability to spot and nurture young, inexperienced talent.

Tyler said Minaj "would have sent (Bob Dylan) back to the cornfield" if he had been a contestant on the show.

Nicki fired back on Twitter, "That's a racist comment. You assume that I wouldn't have liked Bob Dylan??? why? black? rapper? what? go (expletive) yourself and worry about yourself babe."

According to TMZ, on Tuesday, Tyler explained himself on the Canadian talk show, "eTalk," saying, "I apologize if it was taken wrong, Nicki, but I am the farthest from (being a racist). I am the last thing on this planet as far as being a racist. I don't know where she got that out of me saying I'm not sure how she would've judged Bob Dylan."

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks.