(AP) - Trace Adkins says he's a proud American who is against any kind of oppression. But he is catching some flak for wearing an earpiece decorated like the Confederate flag the other night when he performed at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting in New York.

Adkins says he meant no offense - saying the flag motif represents his Southern heritage. Some regard the Confederate flag as a racist symbol and there were more than a few Twitter postings criticizing the singer because he wore something that looked like it.

Adkins says he is a descendant of Confederate soldiers and meant no offense. Speaking from Japan where he's on a USO tour, Adkins is calling for what he terms an "honest conversation" about U.S. history.