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RGM Originals: N-Word Use In Hip-Hop By Non-Black People

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This is a touchy topic that I try to be very honest about.

So what does the n-word mean to you? To me, the n-word is a historically racist word that has been made into a dynamic word that is supposed to be used exclusively amongst black people like myself today. In other words, the n-word symbolizes that we, as black people, are capable of making the sweetest lemonade out of lemons that were given to us that were both rotten and poisoned. With that being said, the word is abused and misused by those that aren’t black…



While nearly every single time a white person says the n-word (especially with the “er” at the end), they are reprimanded, and rightfully so, they weren’t the most amazing people to our black ancestors. However, when someone who isn’t white says the word, we aren’t so quick to put them in their place… In hip-hop, there are a bunch of rappers that aren’t black (or white) that say the n-word; some of them even say it more than black people. I hate to call out names, so I’ll just give you a clue of some of the people I hear say it a lot: One of those people loves repping “Gucci Gang” and the other has colorful rainbow hair. I don’t understand the world’s rappers like them have lived in, so I’m not going to judge them for using the word. What I will ask them is this: What does the word mean to you? Is it something cool to say? Do you think deep down that you have black roots in your family tree? Is the word something that boosts your brand? What I will tell people that are Brown, Asian, etc, is that some of the excuses that I’ve heard aren’t all that acceptable. One common excuse I hear from non-black n-word users is that the word is used amongst their friends that are black, so they feel it is OK to use it, too. Ok, I get that, but are you paying your dues for using a word that isn’t yours? Fellow black folks, perhaps it’s time to say things like this: if you are going to use the n-word, also stand up for black injustice. If you are going to use the n-word, also give back to black communities. Someone who does just that is Fat Joe, so I’m not as angry when he uses the word (I’m not completely comfortable when he uses it either). Historically, the New York rapper has talked about his charitable contributions in Africa and other black communities.



So what made me want to talk about this topic? The other day, I read an article about Nav not wanting to say the n-word anymore after he was pressed by a bunch of critics. His excuse was that the black, Jamaican, Spanish, and Asian people he grew up with used it, so he felt like he could use it, too. Well, clearly logic got to him, because he stopped using the word in his music (Kudos to him for understanding that using the word wasn’t as important to him to keep using). So in conclusion, the n-word has always been a confusing topic, but if you have an interest in using it, I simply ask you to answer this one question: What does the word mean to you? If you can’t give me a straight/logical answer, maybe you shouldn’t use it…


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