Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nas Says N*gger

I say speak for yourself.

There's no denying that Nas is a talented lyricist. His words are captivating, his voice is clear. His position in hip hop, regardless of the nay-sayers, is firmly in place. But his soon-to-be released album which currently bares no title....? (Update: My bad, his album as of 5/19 is entitled "Nas".) Not so much. The original title, for those of you living under rocks this year, was supposed to be "Nigger". He proudly announced this fact last October. But the reality of it is record sales will surely suffer if Target and Best Buy can't put his CD on their squeaky clean shelves, so it was recently stated that the title will be changed to something more the-man-friendly.

Humph....whatever Nas.

Lets get this straight, shall we? Nas was quoted as saying he wants to "..take the power out of the word nigger..." by repeating it over and over in his new album and calling the entire LP "Nigger". Or perhaps the reality is, that Nas is low on funds and wants to exploit the nigger-happy generation of today by selling them his latest rhymes wrapped up with a big nigger-bow to make them feel as though they've made some kind of statement by buying (literally) into his bull shit. As if this is some kind of activist movement, some kind of social uprising. Give me a break.

Nigger is and always will refer to ignorance. The use of it only points the finger at you. Stamping the word across your face doesn't make it less offensive, it just elevates it's platform to cause damage. There's already enough negative connotation associated with the word "Black", why add fuel to the fire? The word "Nigger" is alive today because our own people continue to braid it into music, movies and literature. No one is pounding fists in our faces, spraying water hoses at our bodies or releasing dogs in the streets. There are no segregation laws, no provincial exploitations of our human rights. We have just as many rights and opportunities today (and for the last 40 years) as the next Jim, John or Suzie. So what "statement" could Nas possibly think he would be making with a CD entitled "Nigger"? Aside from the power of suggestion, the most commonly used form of advertisement today.
I'm puzzled.

Could it be, and I tentatively speculate, that Nas simply wants to get some attention. This is his black-boy version of a scandalous headline to be splashed across the tabloid pages so that by any means necessary Nas is dubbed a household name? Is this his screaming tantrum? Because if it is, I truly wish that he would kindly speak for himself. As a black woman who has lived on both sides of the tracks I most definitely am not where I came from. I am not who I came from and I'm FAR from being a nigger any day of the week. I don't hold the ghetto as a badge of honer, I hold it as an obstacle that was over come by my family. I don't think the stories of my grandparents and my friends grandparents about how they marched in the streets begging to be recognized as equal citizens are mere humorous antidotes. I'm proud enough to boycott an album I otherwise would have rushed out to buy (not burn). I'm proud enough to feel ashamed of yet another black man who has risen above the odds against him, and found a stage to voice his opinions. And with the spot light blazing on his face and the world as his audience; hushed quiet and waiting in anticipation for what this representation of Black society has to say....He clears his throat, steps before the waiting mic and clearly states:

"I know I'm a black man, but I prefer Nigger. Cop my joint."

Thanks, Nas...good lookin out.