Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sup Nigga, Sorry I Meant Ninja: The Restrictions of Who Can Use The N-Word

       "Yo What's going on my nigga?' This question can lead to a brutal beat down or a simple response. It all depends on what you look like. For years there has been disputes about the meaning of the word and who can use it. In her essay The N-Word Is Flourishing Among Generation Hip-Hop Latinos: Why Should We Care Now?, Raquel Cepeda looks into why the latin community has embraced the word nigger. Acceptance of the word came with hip hop in the 90's. Spanish rappers like Big Pun, Fat Joe, and rap group Cypress Hills used the word frequently in their songs. People who identified with these rappers began using the word more freely. In an interview with radio personality, Leon Rogers, Fat Joe said the n-word "somehow became  way to embrace each other". The term became a word of endearment.  Cepeda brings up an unforgettable moment in pop culture history. To promote his new album originally entitled Nigger, rapper Nas and his entourage showed up to the 2008 Grammy Awards wearing shirts with the word "nigger" on it. Nas received a substantial amount of backlash for this. Black activist leader`s, the media, and other blacks shunned the rapper for his decision. Nas defended his actions by saying he did it to weakened the word. In the interview with MTV, he said "we're taking power from the word. White boys ain't mad at cracker cause it don't have the same sting as nigger. I want nigger to have less meaning than cracker."By using the word so much, the negative power gets taken away from it. Nas decided to drop the title of the album. Not because of the pressure from society, but because of the way his community's elders felt about it. His album is untitled. But his cover art shows the letter n whipped onto his back.
       This pop culture moment relates perfectly to the Raquel Cepeda's essay. The criticism of Nas's actions parallel the points of the essay. In it Cepeda give the different view points about the word. Some considered it a taboo word and felt no person should say it under any circumstance. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton didn't approve of Nas's title because of the word's negative history. The NAACP even went as far as to give the N-word a formal burial. Raquel Cepeda also brings up the point that blacks use it "as a term of inclusion and solidarity." This relates to Nas's quote about weakening the n-word.

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting, and a great article! But I'm not sure I see where Nas fits in. This just looks like a summary of a story about him. Is that story in the article? Or does Cepeda use his song as a reference?

    Keep in mind that the purpose of this part of your essay will be to evaluate a piece of evidence that Cepeda uses. So if this story IS in the article, how does it relate to her Claim? Does it support it? Challenge it?

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