The “n” word. Yes, that one…

Posted: April 28, 2014 in Pushing my buttons!, Rocks in my path
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ll start by saying that this is going to be a conflicted sounding blog post so please, just bear with me and let’s see where it goes…? Oh, and this post contains explicit content (although let’s face it, this type of content is sprinkled throughout my blog so for my social media friends, this is nothing new) so read at your own risk.

I love words – lyricism, poetry, flow and music in many forms as evidenced by this crazy list, and will admit that at times that I listen to some music and think to myself, “Am I crazy?” “Am I a part of the societal problem I see?” or “Am I just enjoying a song, or concert and shouldn’t worry about it?” Well, this is one of those times I’ve gone through this running list of questions in my head. Last night, I attended a Schoolboy Q concert. For those of you familiar with Black Hippy (Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q), he’s one of ‘em, along with . I’m not going to review the entire show here, other than to say that it was a good show, Q performed very well, albeit for a rather short time, and the show was hyped up by a few lesser known rappers who were decent. He was accompanied by some of his team and I felt like it was worth the money.

So why does this become conflicting? Here’s Thing 1:

Because some of his lyrics, okay, a little more than some, are misogynist and full of words that would make some people cringe. How do I feel about this? I feel that this is a part of everyday life at times, and while I wouldn’t want a teenage girl or boy to get the wrong idea, I also believe that it’s up to their parents, relatives, environment, etc. to shape and mold children, not music, television, etc. Also, no matter what a song tells someone to do, it’s ultimately up to them to decide what is good and right or wrong. I know many people think that this degrades our world and sends horrible messages to our youth and sometimes, I will agree, depending on the song and message. But in all honesty, if a song upsets that much, shouldn’t the station or TV channel just be changed or filtered out in a home? Also, isn’t this what being open-minded is about? Giving something a chance, seeing it from someone else’s perspective and then forming an opinion? Granted, you may still hate the music or TV show, movie, etc. but at least you gave it a chance and everyone is certainly entitled to their likes and dislikes.

Okay now on to Thing 2:

This gets to the weird and possibly conflicting part of the night for me. Schoolboy Q’s lyrics come with full out assaults of “niggas”, “fuck” and “p…”, and well, you get the picture. What does this have to do with anything other than your image of me possibly being lowered as you judge me? … The fact that the show’s audience was made up of quite a large number of young white boys and girls. Why is this a problem or something I’d notice? It’s not something I’d typically notice but the reason it caught my attention because at times, it was kinda odd to hear young white kids singing and screaming the word,“nigga”. Granted, most people don’t know my background or opinions on this word and that’s quite fine with me.

At this point in my life, I have grown to understand that the connotation and association of this word with a younger music scene in t that it does not carry the sting, hurt or degradation, as it did in the past, and still today, for many people. In many respects, the word it is being owned and proudly worn to take away the sting, to not feel like it’s degrading and the power that once came with this word, is being taken back by those who feel they would be called that. Therefore many have made this word that was once negative, positive. And I’m okay with that. Language is what we make it. Language, expression and thoughts should not be dictated or controlled by anyone. But does that make it okay for a white person to yell the “n” word at a black person? I’d say no. So why is it okay to sing and scream it at a concert? I don’t know…is it back to language and expression and not being meant as harmful? Is it all a matter of context? What do you think? Especially in light ofthe Cliven Bundy stuff (click the link for Ball Maher’s thoughts!) and the Donald Sterling recording. If music gets a free pass, do these guys do too? Or does it go back to context, etc.?

Side note Bonus Thing (observation):

I’m VERY tired of venues that cater to all ages and younger bands and shows, ripping patrons off with the alcohol. This is the third time, within a one year period where I go to this type of venue and ordered premium liquor, only to taste it and realize it’s NOT what I ordered but a cheap version of the item. (e.g. Order Ketel One shots but get something that tastes more like Absolut or worse in one case!) Young folks may not know their booze tastes yet, but I certainly do. And I will continue to share the bad, scam practices – from my blog to Yelp and wherever else, just so management at these spots will not continue to rip off patrons. Alcohol is already marked up so why lie about what you’re serving?!

To be fair, I will add kudos to the Security in Baltimore for keeping the peace on a nice night full of fools- young and old, this one included! 🙂

  1. Leslie Jay says:

    It’s too late for me; I can never reclaim this word. In music and in poetry, sometimes it bothers me and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s okay with me especially when it is used in despair (as I’ve often used it in my own work). Sometimes, it’s use seems a bit gratuitous. (But maybe that is part of the desensitization process?) Maybe in some cases the repetition of the word is to take the sting out of it, but I hear it too many times as, “This is all I’m ever going to be seen as, so I might as well give in and be it.”

  2. lotu2 says:

    Natasha, this is so interesting. I just re-read this post after spending the past few days commenting on a huffpost article about why do white people want to use the N word. The comments section really lit up. I’m not happy with white people using the word, even if they’re just singing along or reading a quote. The younger generation might be turning the word into something positive and taking the sting out of it, but they probably haven’t been exposed to the word in its full negativity or felt the sting in the same way someone about my age or older has. In some songs, I can appreciate the use of the word, but as I said above, sometimes it seems gratuitous.

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