N-WORD & HiP HOP
Hip Hop has changed the world and the culture in the United States. The N-Word and Hip Hop now walk side by side, hand in hand. A word spawned from hatred used for centuries in the United States as a derogatory term blares through our speakers. However it has evolved over recent years in dramatic fashion. This blog post will talk about the word nigger and it's bizarre and dramatic evolution. We all should remember the root of evil and hatred in which this word arrived and the power that it carries in society today. It has truly taken on an entirely new life and meaning that has provoked controversy and awakened ignorance.
Nigger is still used in a derogatory manner towards people with dark skin primarily directed at Black Americans; yet the definition struck me as odd when I looked it up. I've always been told that it the original meaning of the N-Word, nigger, as defined in dictionaries, was "an ignorant person," and a related belief that current dictionary definitions describing its use as a hateful, racist epithet are a recent change. Apparently that was never the case and it just blew my mind, that it has always been a derogatory term towards a person of dark complexion. Nothing more. The Malcom X Movie gave us insight. The words meaning of ignorance is just a widely misconstrued definition? Google the word nigger right now and you might be shocked at what comes up. I know I was. I've always thought the actual definition was an ignorant person, until now.
How It Changed
The N-Word has evolved and it's crazy. Let's skip over the whole rap thing where it's used every other word and go right to the heart of it's current use. Yes it's still used as a terribly derogatory and offensive word towards African Americans by white people but that's the obvious part. The weird part is it has become a term of endearment or acknowledgement in the white community. I think that Eminem's arrival in hip hip had a lot to do with it. It's not just black people greeting each other with it anymore. It's not uncommon for a room full of 20 year old white girls to throw it around and a conversation might just start out like this. "What's good my nigga?" Says one white girl to the other, SMH. The word nigga doesn't carry the same meaning anymore unless it's coming from an old white person.
Why It Changed
Obviously the prevalence of hip/hop in the world changed several words such as nigger, gangster, bitch, etc. Nigga has become a substitute for words like dude, homey, buddy, etc. It's crazy. Peep this example. We DJ'd a prom last year and played the clean version of Kanye West's "Gold Digger." Needless to say the room full of 300 some-odd kids, a majority white, sang along in tune with the track and shouted "she ain't messing with no broke nigga." A Teacher approached me and reminded me I agreed not to play songs with swear words, I was like, it's not me it's them! The point is the music changed the meaning (not for everyone) for a lot of people. The news coverage, the videos, the commercials, the social media, the TV made being a gangsta cool. Everyone want's to be gangsta nowadays because the word gangsta means awesome.
Is it a good change?
Honestly, I don't know the answer to this, the evolution is crazy and a little confusing. I wonder if the C-Word is ever going to become popular again? Can you picture a couple black kids like "Yo whats up my Cracka?" Maybe it will dumb down the word so much it will make it irrelevant? Is that 10, 50, 100, 200 years away from happening? Not sure about that either but what I do know is that I've really cut back on the usage of it myself. I've personally started to avoid it all together and even dropped it from my music lyrics. It makes it difficult, try not using the F-Word when expressing anger, it loses emphasis. My son is five and I don't want him to use the word or get caught in thinking being gangsta or hood is cool, took me almost 40 years to get here.
A Negative Becomes a Positive?
Can things that have always been viewed as a negative for centuries become a positive? Tupac related the acronym N.I.G.G.A to "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished." OK, albeit most of his messages suburban kids can't relate too, but hey the music is dope and catchy and they sing along and bob their heads to it just like the city kids do. Black people can't even act like our old heads even like rap yet young white kids say nigga because they think it makes them hip. Does a negative situation ever become a positive one? Biggie said it best, "Damn right I like the life I live, cuz I went from negative to positive and if ya don't know now ya know..." You know the rest and I bet if your white or black you said it in your head!
Times are wild right now, black murder by white cops, Nike Boycotts, Racist Presidents, White kids saying nigga, ignorant people of all colors in a Godless society. I'm not the first to address it, rapper Ja Rule sat down and spoke about this same topic. I sit here banging my head to some Tupac as I write what I hope becomes a super controversial piece. The unfortunate truth is that we are in trouble people, GOD bless America. I can't wait to see what everyone has to say, please feel free to comment and add your personal thoughts below.