“They say money make a n*gga act n*gger-ish”
Problem- A$AP Rocky
On February 10th, the world will witness the 55th annual Grammy award show and rap royalty will be in the hizzouse. This ain’t nuthin’ unusual. However, what is news is that for the first time, a song featuring the controversial “N-word” is in the running for an award, courtesy of Kanye West and Jay Z’s hit “N*ggas in Paris.” And since the song is nominated in two categories, the odds are in their favor.
The only other thing to come close to this monumental event is, perhaps, Nas and ex-wife Kelis sportin’ the N*gger embroidered jackets on the red carpet at the 2008 show.
So the question is, if Kanye and Jay are successful, how are they gonna announce the winner and who is gonna do it ? Since the Grammy folks like to do the unexpected when it comes to announcing winners, I can’t wait to see Ted Nugent jump on stage and say “and the winner of the Rap Performance of the Year is “N*ggers in New Hampshire"...I mean "Coloreds Outta Compton"...Aw, shucks …”
Also, the fact that the awards are smack dab in the middle of Black History Month makes matters worst.
If we look at the history of rap music and the Grammy’s, it is safe to say that our music was not always welcomed. Kinda like a thugged out version of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. “Although the genre was finally recognized as something more than ghetto noise by the late 80’s, controversy was created when the show would not televise the new category, prompting a boycott by Jazzy Jeff and Will "Fresh Prince" Smith and others in 1989.
So while some will be proud of the fact that 24 years later, Hip-Hop can proudly boast that it has produced the first N*gga song that could possibly win a Grammy, other Black folks, like myself, look upon the possibility with utter disgust. Especially considering that more socially relevant groups such as Brand Nubian and X-Clan never won the award , even though they are considered legends in the Hip-Hop arena.
Perhaps most disturbing is that by rewarding such ignorance , it helps to legitimize the usage of the work in the eyes of White Americans. Droppin’ the N-bomb in the presence of white folks was once seen as a cultural no no. I can remember the controversy that arose when “George Jefferson’s “ white neighbor “Tom Willis” called him a n*gger on national TV on the 70’s sitcom “The Jeffersons”
But thanks to Hip-Hop groups, like NWA (Niggaz with Attitude) the word has become less offensive, even though it is, technically, still taboo for white people to actually say the word.
Although, many point to Hip Hop for propagating the warped idea that the overuse of the word would take the power out of it, it was actually white comedian Lenny Bruce who suggested that back in the 60’s. It must also be remembered that John Lennon tried to universalize the term back in 1972 with the song , “Woman is the Nigger of the World.”
It is oft repeated myth that the N Word is hip because it is a term of endearment that all Black people use to express brotherly love and racial solidarity.
Uh, no we “all “don’t.
There are probably more African Americans who, vehemently, oppose the word than those who embrace it.
For instance Philadelphia social worker, Abena Afreeka, who recently started a “N*gga Recovery Program” to help those addicted to using the word, opposes it because it acts as a psychological trigger to subconscious memories of slavery which results in negative behavior. Thus creating the perfect Manchurian candidate.
Despite the false idea that we now live in a color blind society, racism still exists. And when Black rappers use the word they are like Beyoncé at the last Inauguration, lip syncing what many white folks in this country wish they could say out loud.
Which probably explains the massive crossover appeal of rappers who frequently use the word like Kanye West and Jay Z’s fellow Grammy contenders former gifted college athlete turned ratchet rapper, 2 Chainz, and former correctional officer turned “gangsta,“ Rick Ross.
In a climate where people like Quentin Tarantino feel comfortable releasing N-Word laden movies and reality shows that feature African Americans as over sexed buffoons, it is time that we flip the script.
Hip Hop artists must stand up and denounce the use of the word in the same manner that they denounce safer and non- race specific issues like animal cruelty and bullying.
We must realize that the use of the word is just a throw back to slavery and until we stop identifying ourselves as n*ggas, we will continue to be 21st century mental slaves. It is not only the word that must die but the pathological behavior that has been associated with the word courtesy of Holly ‘hood and the music industry.
Like that classic scene from the old school Spike Lee flick “School Daze” when Dap (Laurence Fishburne) tells some brothas “you’re not nigga’s,” this must be our message in 2013.
But truth is there is a trace of the racial inferiority complex ,a carry over from the enslavement of our ancestors, in all of us. And in order for our fullest self to live, that part of us must die.
So before we can change the world we must change ourselves
As Chuck D once asked on the Autobiography of Mr. Chuck, “Can you kill the n*gger in you?”
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s website is NoWarningShotsFired.com. Follow him on Twitter @truthminista To contact the Black By Nature/Conscious By Choice Campaign contact firstname.lastname@example.org.