‘Is it ever OK for white people to use the N-word?”
This is the question posted on the Thisis50.com website on a blog discussing rappers Kreayshawn and V-nasty. Kreayshawn (a phonetic play on the word creation) has recently been signed to Columbia records. They’re both women. They’re from East Oakland.
Oh yeah…and they’re white.
They also say the N-Word when they rap. (To be fair, calling it the N-word suggests they’re using the racial epithet, nigger, when in fact they use the more colloquial–and culturally acceptable–nigga.) Although Kreayshawn doesn’t use it in her recorded music (only on the occasional off-the-top freestyle), V-nasty uses it profusely which she demonstrates in her 1 million+ viewed You Tube video Psycho B*tch. Kreayshawn is a bit more mainstream in her approach as evidenced by the 30 million+ views she’s garnered for her You Tube hit Gucci Gucci.
So now everyone is mad. Kreayshawn, V-Nasty, and their inimitable White Girl Mob are getting dissed by everyone from “You Tubers” to the blogosphere. They’re being called racists and cultural appropriators (seems like you’d need a PHd for that?). Even L.A. rapper Game included them in a diss track.
I, on the other hand, don’t have a problem with it. Their tracks are typical of the music you hear thundering out of youngsters’ trunks these days. If these girls were black there would be no problem. And they’re not using the word to proclaim any kind of socioeconomic plight. There’s no cultural significance in how they use it at all; it’s syllabic filler. Some might say that makes it worse. To me, the intention’s the thing.
They’re 21st Century inner city kids. Not “street”, but from the streets. Sure, they’re a tad clownish with the crazy clothes and the gun talk (like Nicki Minaj isn’t a little clownish?). The one thing they’re not is racist. Besides, the word has become a central dialectic element of urban culture. Their culture. Saying nigga is like, well, saying “like”.
As for them exploiting black culture, McDonald’s and Chrysler beat them to it. A decade ago. We plunged off that moral peak when Clinton was still president. Rap sells fast food and sneakers these days. Catch up.
And when did rap become so ass backwards? A fifteen year-old drug dealer (and user) gets shot over a dime-bag and everyone goes, hate the game not the player. But some ghetto white girl throws the N-word into a freestyle and it’s “Waaaa?!” Mental.
It’s always a judgement call with racialist etiquette in post-Obama America. But if we’ve got enough love to put a black man in the White House, isn’t there a little left over for a couple of white nigga-rettes from East Oakland?
(Kreayshawn image from: http://live.drjays.com/index.php/2011/08/02/how-to-dress-like-kreayshawn/ V-Nasty image from: http://rapdose.com/2011/11/11/v-nasty-im-a-real-bh)