Waka Flocka; Rappers, Let’s Stop Calling Black People Niggas.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Last week, I was among the millions of people who were angry about the racist chant by members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity. The song, with the chorus, “There’ll never be a n*gger in SAE,” was heard around the world, leading to the University of Oklahoma cutting all ties to the fraternity.
That’s a decent start, even though we know that racism goes deeper than dealing with one stupid chant by a few drunken white guys. The fact is that most of the racists in America know better than to sing a song like that. So, rather than singing out their feelings, they just put thousands of black men in prison, deny us jobs, brainwash us with the media and let cops shoot our kids in the street.
I was proud of seeing the rapper Waka Flocka Flame (aka Juaquin James Malphurs) take twist into social commentary by appearing on CNN to explain that he was “hurt and disgusted” after seeing the video. He even gave up the money he was going to make by performing on the campus. Good move brother, I’m proud of you for taking a stand. Too many people in the entertainment industry have been trained to think that money matters over integrity, and it’s led to the decay of our soul as black people over the last 30 years.
But here’s the thing.
While Waka Flocka is on television telling whites how outraged he was about hearing white teenagers using the n-word, he also has a song with Gucci Mane called “Young Niggas.” These white kids obviously look up to him, or they wouldn’t have offered him thousands of dollars to perform. Many of them listen to his music everyday in the frat house and have memorized his lyrics. Also, they’ve probably not been educated on the subtleties of racism and America’s history of hatred and violence toward black people. That’s just not what rich white people tend to do.
So, you can only imagine how confused a white teenage Waka Flocka Flame fan is going to be when he finds out that simply REPEATING the lyrics of the artist he idolizes is somehow inappropriate. That’s like a football player saying that he’s offended that you just called him an athlete. It just doesn’t make any damn sense.
We all know the long debate over using the n-word with an “er” vs an “a.” Most black people know the difference between the two. We also know that the context of the word matters, along with who is saying it, when they say it, and why they’re saying it. But do you expect a rich white boy at The University of Oklahoma to be able to know the difference? Come on, that’s just stupid.
So, here’s the thing about the N-word. Maybe there are better ways for black men to address each other without using even a snippet of the word that white men used when justifying why they burned us alive, castrated us in public or hanged our siblings from trees.
Perhaps we can call each other “brother” or “king,” rather than entertaining white people by referring to each other in ways that are derogatory, inaccurate and debilitating.
Some rappers have earned boatloads of money by celebrating black genocide, encouraging black men to stay high and drunk, promoting sexual irresponsibility and basking in the glow of perpetual ignorance. The power of hip-hop is strong enough to brainwash the masses, we know how amazing the art form can be. Maybe it’s time to use hip-hop for something uplifting rather than putting the gun in our own mouths.
Mr Malphurs (Waka Flocka) actually showed some genius, maturity and conscientiousness by taking the time to appear on CNN to express his view on an important social issue. Now it’s time to run the ball all the way into the end zone and accept the idea that maybe….just maybe….black men aren’t born to be a pack of weed-smoking, gun-toting niggaz.
Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins