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Dr. Boyce: Gwyneth Paltrow and All Her N*ggas

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Dr. Boyce: Gwyneth Paltrow and All Her N*ggas

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, KultureKritic.com

Someone recently gave me a call about the incident in which actress Gwyneth Paltrow used the term “Ni**as in Paris” to describe her time hanging out with Beyonce, Jay-Z, Spike Lee and a bunch of other random people in their clique.    When I heard about Gwyneth’s unfortunate use of words on Twitter, I thought to myself, “I wonder if she would have said the same thing if she’d been hanging out with Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie?  Aren’t they her ni**as too?”

The answer to the question above (which I believe is a resounding “no”) makes it clear that Gwyneth chose those words specifically to reference the brown-skinned people around her.  Mind you, two of them (Jay-Z and Kanye) had just made a song calling themselves “Ni**as in Paris,” but the other people in the picture didn’t write the song.  I’m not sure if they’d want to be referred to as “Gwyneth’s Ni**as,” but since she is a wealthy, famous white woman, they’d probably let her refer to them as her pet monkeys.

We should all be concerned with those who travel the world and bastardize the black experience with buffoonish behavior, taking big paychecks from non-black people who love for us to entertain them with minstrel shows. This isn’t much different from the big lipped, black faced, buck-dancing caricatures that were exploited 100 years ago.  Kanye and Jay-Z take an inaccurate version of life in the hood, and export it to audiences around the world, who pay them to act the way they think “real” black people are supposed behave.

To some extent, their careers can be compared to the Asian funny man in the film, “The Hangover.”  The character, played by Ken Jeong, fits every goofy Asian stereotype known to man.  The role has been so successful that Jeong, who went to The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, gave up his medical career to be a full-time Asian buffoon.  I’m sure the Asian community is so proud and would love to see their children grow up to be just like Jeong (yes, I was being sarcastic).

By seeing ourselves portrayed as walking stereotypes and bombarding our kids with images of black men with 100 pound necklaces, head-to-toe tattoos, and mouths full of metal, we are persuading black kids to do as Jeong did and pass up opportunities to have respectable lives so they can help white people enjoy their fresh-cooked negro stereotypes.   The same white guy would not let your black butt date his daughter is telling you that you are his “ni**ga,” and how cool it is to hear you rap about the “ni**a” you shot last week.

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Perhaps black people need to reconsider what it means to heavily market the word ni**a to the world. Gwyneth Paltrow is not the one to blame here, for she is simply following Jay-Z and Kanye’s lead.  She is no different from the marketing firm that puts out an ad that is heavily racist, who thinks that it’s OK to do so because the black guy in the office said that the ad was not offensive.  At worst, Paltrow might need to educate herself on the fact that not every black person is comfortable with the use of the word “ni**ga” and that there are millions of black people who consider Jay-Z to be an enemy of progress.

As far as Jay-Z and Kanye go, I find it interesting that we’ve gotten to the point where it’s OK to do nearly anything that degrades yourself, as long as someone pays you enough money to do it.  Kanye’s mother, the late Donde West, was a well-educated woman who likely ensured that Kanye knew that he wasn’t born to be the white man’s ni**a.  I’m sure that the poor woman is rolling over in her grave as she watches her child voluntarily turn himself into everything she raised him not to be.

Gwyneth should apologize for her words, there’s no question about that.  But the apology is owed to black people who are offended by a white woman using the N-word to define other black people around her.  As for the self-proclaimed ni**as in the room with Paltrow, I can’t speak for them.  As they remain high from the drug of capitalism, I’m sure that they will sell every ounce of dignity they have left before their careers are done…..after all, that’s what ni**gas love to do.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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48 Comments

  1. Frantz Lubin

    June 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    This is so embarrassing. And to think that Jay Z,B and Kanye will accept this. They will eat this insult and smile about it. Gross.

    Black people can’t get rid of one single word from their vocabulary? One word. One word. Really?

    To all of those folks who don’t know their history and who don’t love themselves; please kill yourself. Let the rest of us who recognize the plight of our ancestors and love this beautiful brown continue in a great tradition of loving thy brother and sister and respecting our history. Do us a all a favor and step aside.

    Do us all a favor

    • Victoria Rowels

      June 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      What’s In A Name?
      Copyright by Victoria Rowels ©1983, 2011

      What’s in a name? The young student asked.
      And why is the future connected to the past?
      And why does that word that starts with a “N”,
      Incite violence in the most peaceful of men?

      The teacher looked perplexed and didn’t know where to begin,
      To explain that word that starts with a “N”.
      The dictionary seemed like a good place to start,
      But it didn’t even touch upon the most important part.

      How can a volume designed to define,
      Words and phrases formed in the mind,
      Give meaning to and take apart,
      A concept of hate formed in the heart:

      Of men who deny the humanity,
      Of darker hued people who look like me.

      Of men who believe that their lack of melanin,
      Makes them pure and incapable of sin.

      Of men who prayed and held Bibles in their hand,
      While they raped and pillaged humanity’s motherland.

      Of men who built empires, fortunes and fame,
      By promoting a concept we mistakenly call: “a name”.

      What’s in a name? The teacher asked.
      And why is the future connected to the past?
      And why does that word that starts with a “ N”.
      Incite violence in the most peaceful of men?

      The student tried to answer but he was a little confused.
      So he stopped in mid-sentence and asked to be excused.
      The teacher asked the student why he suddenly had to go.
      At first the student looked down and said: “I don’t know”.
      Then the student decided to reveal his newly made plans,
      To go and study the history of all hue-mans.

      What’s in a name?

  2. Arnezz

    June 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Tho i agree with alot of your commentary on otha issues I think u went over board with this1. Those of u who still get offended by white folk who use the word nighaz need 2 really come out from the 80’s. Nighaz is anybody and anything.So cats need 2 catch up with the rest of us.There’s a reason why the dinosaurs did out.The point is The word means something entirely different now. U and every other dinosaur have 2 deal with that as it relates 2 tha word nigha….

    • Mr. Nelson

      June 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      You have been bamboozled to believe that the meaning the word has changed. In fact meaning of words don’t change, they are just misapplied more today with text written to accommodate the dumb. And it is uninformed individuals who allow the continued negative acts of degradation of the black race. The actions of others are to bombard you in order to desensitize you, so that you do not act negatively, nor care to act, or even recognize when you are being disrespected. So at what point do you say that an act is unacceptable? Your ignorance is one that allows the continued perpetuation of the attempt being made to return slavery. They have your mind under their control. WAKE UP!!!!!

  3. Tina C.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you Dr. Boyce! The circle that Ms. Paltrow was traveling with should be ashamed; for whom they have become. This is a word that obviously they allow their friends to use around them like tissue paper. We (Black Americans) just don’t get it! Its o.k. truly it is to be a part of a circle that has black, white, Asian or whatever the ethnicity is; what is not o.k. is to not be comfortable with who you are in the midst of your circle. If the people in your circle are not comfortable with whom you are, then maybe it’s time to make your circle an L and cut away. We are a race that should be proud of who are; a beautiful masterpiece if ever there was one; but we have allowed society and some of the ones that we look up to, to humiliate us and help turn our timid minds into something that is deplorable; like loving and accepting the shouting of the word N**gas like it’s our own black national anthem. Smh.

  4. Tina C

    June 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you Dr. Boyce! The circle that Ms. Paltrow was traveling with should be ashamed; for whom they have become. This is a word that obviously they allow their friends to use around them like tissue paper. We (Black Americans) just don’t get it! Its o.k. truly it is to be a part of a circle that has black, white, Asian or whatever the ethnicity is; what is not o.k. is to not be comfortable with who you are in the midst of your circle. If the people in your circle are not comfortable with whom you are, then maybe it’s time to make your circle an L and cut away. We are a race that should be proud of who are; a beautiful masterpiece if ever there was one; but we have allowed society and some of the ones that we look up to, to humiliate us and help turn our timid minds into something that is deplorable; like loving and accepting the shouting of the word N**gas like it’s our own black national anthem. Smh.

  5. Rich C

    June 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Doctor is on point once again!

  6. Catlover

    June 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Dr. Boyce, I disagree with your comment “Gwyneth Paltrow is not the one to blame here, for she is simply following Jay-Z and Kanye’s lead.” Ms. Paltrow is a grown woman and she is responsible for what comes out of her mouth. She is comfortable with surrounding herself with Black people who have the illness of lack of self respect and self love (and they are always put on spectacular display), but, as you notice, the Black people who are strong and love their people are not put on display at all. We are too dangerous. The record industry pays millions to these rap ‘artists’ to degrade their people, promote violence and gang activity, give the wrong impression to our young people which in turn makes them want to act like them, end up selling drugs, disrespecting women and themselves, and end up in the prison industry..which is making SOMEBODY alot of $$$$$$…those who invest in the prison industry. See the connection?

  7. ChicaRho

    June 5, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I am hyper sensitive to the word also, but let’s not forget that 1) Jay Z and Kanye wrote the song… so if we want to take issue with the word, we need to take issue with WHOEVER uses it, black or white. 2) I’d be willing to bet she chose that word, and specific phrase, BECAUSE she was standing with Jay Z who, again, WROTE THE SONG. I suspect if Jay was not in that picture, she wouldn’t have thrown it out there.

    We need to be aware that our own collective acceptance of a behavior makes people feel like it’s okay to join us in that behavior. Therefore, if we don’t tolerate it when THEY use it, then maybe WE should stop using it.

  8. ChicaRho

    June 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    BTW, my comment was in response to Arnezz, who naively thinks this is a young/old issue and not a self-respect issue.

  9. Danilo Payaso

    June 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Dr Boyce does not realize that in business, you give the customer what they want – or they buy elsewhere.

    Black folks have not made Oprah, Kanye, and Jayz rich!

    Which is better: uneducated and broke or uneducated and rich?

    ~ danilo

  10. s'ann

    June 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Right on brotha,’ speak! The use of the “n” word is unacceptable.

  11. sann

    June 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Right on brotha,’ speak! The use of the “n’ word is unacceptable.

  12. Lynn

    June 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    LOL @ “fresh-cooked negro stereotypes.”

    Great piece!

  13. Jacqueline

    June 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    She felt comfortable saying if because they were probably using it around her. So I fault them not her. And if Jayz and the rest of those entertainer want to use it in private with non-blacks that’s their business. However she should be imformed that not all African American like that word and it’s offensive.

  14. OpenFist247

    June 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Paltry is not fooling me. She’s the type of benign racist who surrounds herself with negros who will let her refer to them as Ns.

  15. Lenny

    June 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Black people are something else. First the word “nigger” is offensive and oppressive. Then the word becomes “nigga”, a so-called term of endearment among Blacks to their fellow Black person. Then, Blacks spread the word to stop using the word “nigga” because of its original negative connotation and it’s not a positive thing to refer to any Black person as. Now, it’s kool again, but not when someone outside of the Black race uses the term to refer to their Black friends. Because when a White person uses the term, it’s automatically associated with the freakin Ku Klux Klan version of the word “nigger”. White people have Black friends that they love and adore, so they can’t say “hey that’s my nigga”? Black folks throw around the word ‘racist/racism’ at every little thing they get offended about, but Black folks are the damn racists. But of course they don’t think they can be racists simply because they’re Black. What sense does that make? None. Jigga can throw around the word ‘nigga’ and sell millions of albums and makes millions of dollars off of it,and in return he gets love and street cred and respect. But Gwyneth Paltrow, a White woman, uses the term of endearment for her Black friends, and suddenly it’s so bad. She’s racist. It’s wrong for her to say it. All Black people who feel that way, I wanna take the time to tell you “SHUT THE F*** UP AND HAVE A SEAT”.

    Signed,
    Black Person Who’s Trying To Be Proud of Her Race.

    • Adrienne

      June 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      @Lenny (if I may call you that) I could not have said it any better 🙂 I agree with you 100

  16. Elizabeth

    June 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Jay-Z lacks true talent as does Kanye. They are both insulting to the African race in America. Don’t buy this insulting song.

    Jay-Z is only concerned with dollars and Kanye just wants cash to impress Miss Kim.

    Our men…Oh Well!

    • SMT

      June 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      Does Jay-Z lack talent because he has a song called N*ggas in Paris or do you think he is truly not talented? Are both Kanye and Jay-Z insulting to the African race in America because of this song?
      If anything you can look at their stories and say that they are a success story for African Americans. Both could have gone down the paths that many other black men go won. Instead both overcame the odds that they were faced with and became successful at something positive.
      Now, you don’t have to agree with anything that they say but does that make them an insult? You can disagree with how they make their livings but in reality consumers make that possible.
      In the end everyone is entitled to their opinion but I think it is irresponsible to say that these men are insults to an entire race because they say things that you don’t like.

      • Blossom

        June 6, 2012 at 6:05 am

        Overcame odds?? Kanye’s mother was very educated, and was the head of an academic department in a university. Kanye had the same chances… no, better chances of getting well-educated and making a success of himself than many people, Black or White. Please give me a break, guy, about “making it out” and “not going down the same path as other Black men.”
        Black people have been very successful for years, but all we hear is the stupid broken record of how we can’t make it, we struggle to get by, etc, etc,. That mess is a myth for MANY Black people. All Black people are not from a gang-infested hood with no fathers and no education. My father, like many Black fathers, worked a respectable job for decades and is now living a great life with a great pension. He was present my whole life, took care of his 5 children, and he and my mother have been married now for 50 years.
        There are way to many White people that are drug addicts and alcoholics, and murderers for people to keep talking about Black men night and day. They do more drugs than Black people, and there are statistics to back that up (though I must be honest, I’m no fan of statistics, but from what I have seen in my lifetime, and currently see in my mostly White neighborhood, I believe wholeheartedly those statistics are right!). I’m sick of the mass insulting of Black people and Black men when there are too many other wrong people to focus on.

        AND, Jay-Z is not all that just because he is rich. Being rich does not automatically make one someone people should follow. I wish Jay-Z and Kanye, Wayne, and the rest would show kids AND adults the way to peace and good living instead of always expressing filth and aggressiveness. Enough cursing, sex talk, aggression, and money worship.
        Why aren’t they making videos of kids getting A’s in school to encourage youth to be educated? Why aren’t they making videos and raps about having a permanent truce to end gang and drug violence?

        Jay-Z came from Marcey projects, but he needs to do everything he can to make sure kids, teens, adults don’t have to live in a ghetto, sell drugs, or do things that are illegal in order to make a living for their families.

  17. Ruby from NJ

    June 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I have never cared for Ms. Paltrow, and this report of her use of the “N” word tells me my instincts are right. She is not “hip” or “cool;” she has shown herself to be a racist. She could have said, “We’re all friends in Paris.”

  18. Sharon

    June 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Yeah, even though it was in poor taste on her fault I really feel we are to blame for this one. Kanye and Jay use the word in their songs and on the titles of their singles then perform for crowds full of whites all over the world. Gwen probably felt “cool” when she said it. How can we really keep getting mad at white folks who try and use the word like we do (versus as an insult or racial slur) if we keep using it. We set trends. Period. This is why I don’t use it in front of whites period, or anybody that I wouldn’t want to say it.

    • Blossom

      June 6, 2012 at 5:50 am

      Totally agree with you. If that’s the name of J-Z’s song, then why is this woman faulted for it? What the heck did he mean by “Niggas in Paris”? He meant JUST THAT– nigga’s in Paris!

      Many White people not only have listened to hip-hop/rap for years, they are immersed in the hip-hop culture and are just vibing off the music and culture. I think some of them feel comfortable around Black people and want to say, “What’s up, my nigga” same as we do. We get offended, but I don’t think all White people mean to offend.
      I love my people, but I have long been tired of Jay-Z and some of the negative things he says.

  19. nellis

    June 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    You said it all Dr.

  20. AMAZINGGRACE

    June 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I JAY-Z IS FULL OF STUFF BECAUSE HE TOLD OPRAH THAT HE WOULD TRY NOT TO USE THE ‘N’ WORD. WELL, HE IS MAKING MILLIONS DOING JUST THE OPPOSITE. TO SAY THAT IS TO SAY, DON’T BLAME MS.P. FOR USING IT, PLACE THE BLAME WHERE IS SQUARELY BELONGS…..

  21. SMT

    June 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Is it possible that she was referring to the actual song? Is it possible that she was just referring to the fact that they were actually performing “N*ggas In Paris” IN PARIS!?! At that point are we criticizing her for saying the name of the song?
    Could it be that those that are offended internalize the negativity of the word so that they can lash out at any opportunity?
    Are we saying that she can’t say the name of the song because of the NAME OF THE SONG? She didn’t say “Hanging with my N*ggas in Paris for real” did she?
    As of right now, everyone else has decided what she meant or was referring to with her tweet.
    Has anyone stopped to think that WE are the ones that keep empowering the word?
    Has anyone thought about what would have happened if black folks didn’t use this as an opportunity to get upset? The reason it is news is because WE keep it news.

    • Blossom

      June 6, 2012 at 6:08 am

      True, true.

  22. Sun

    June 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Ninjas wake UP!
    Let it go, we have much more important things to address in our community & around the WORLD. If a white person sings a Rap song and repeats the word Nig, I guest you could blame the Rapper or the Industry. Right? I use the word Ninja, because Ninja’s move silently and get things done without you even knowing it. Black folks need to sneak up on the WORLD instead of always YELLING from the mountain TO. “Nig’s R HERE” I could amaging what white people must think about us crying everytime they use the N word & some of use it 24-7.
    What can we do about white folks dancing/singing in a club and a Jay Z song comes on? Blah Blah Blah Nig Nig Nig, My Nig.
    Sing along folks
    If you purchase or listen to their music your just as guilty as white folks.
    We should be focused on retaken Africa, freeing our MINDS from white Imperialism and take control of the Minerals/Land like the European/Asians/White Americans/Jews & STOP the childish BULL, otherwise the word will always be the 3000 Elephant in the room.
    Peace!

    • Blossom

      June 6, 2012 at 6:16 am

      Thank you Sun for your comment (!). I agree with you wholeheartedly. We definitely have to shut the heck up and quietly go about the business of getting our lives together as a people and dealing with the huge issues we have that face our community like gun violence, the continual attack on education and destabilization of schools in the Black community, the systematic murder/incarceration of Black men, achieving economic wealth and a continuing legacy of prosperity as a people.

      For real, silent movement is the key. And being FOR REAL about being positive HAS to become a top priority. I am SICK!!! of hearing people say that some of these rappers are “doing something positive” when many of them are spewing out spiritual and moral pollution day and night through their lyrics which reinforces negative stereotypes and behaviors for their own people.
      We’re a mess. But I am praying to God that He will rescue us. That is the only way we will succeed. You may not agree, but I believe that’s the only way.

  23. tom

    June 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    It is so sad that we will become angry with a white woman that’s hanging out with her black friends and repeating the title of a song, but we will NOT become angry with a black person that will do the same thing. “N” word PLEASE!!!!

  24. tom

    June 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    It is so sad that we will become angry with a white woman that’s hanging out with her black friends and repeating the title of a song, but we will NOT become angry with a black person that will do the same thing. “N” word PLEASE!!!!

  25. Anthony Amos

    June 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Personally the tweet doesn’t mean a hill of beans to me because our system says that it is ok, that since no one (of the millions of people that this supposedly offends) are saying anything nor supporting those that are actually saying something different. Silence from those that don’t like this justify the behavior. So if you don’t like this, support art and artists that ARE talking new concepts and don’t support movies with Gweneth in them nor support the shows that any of the said actors/artists are in. Then take it another step further and stop going to walmart, kmart, JCpenny, and all these other retailers that are running commercials for these shows. There are alternatives out there now, but because they are a little harder to fine, we accept these incidents as normal. Until these issues become more important than breathing, they will remain. So enjoy the fruits of our labor. Controversy sells…keep selling it.

    Business, movies, and music doesn’t have to be run the way they are…we just accepted them as status quo.

  26. Pakuo

    June 6, 2012 at 2:41 am

    This is why
    I am very selective with the sort of Black people I associate with. Those people are just as toxic toward other Black people as the white terrorists.

  27. marcus davis

    June 6, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Here we go again ,you know i don,t blame whats her name gwyneth paltrow for using the N word whatever i,v been saying this for years the minute these friggin entertainers started bandying the N word about the place all over tv movies concerts shows and trying to justify using it with some backwards ass garbage about reclaiming the word it was going to cause alot of damage to the black community ,are black folks this short sighted or dim witted to see any damn thing?Here we are in the 21st century with the likes of Jayz and that other frigging idiot Kane west with their stupidness niggas in paris my ass ,someone should shoot both their dumb asses and the rest of all those stupid actors,rappers ,comedians,celebrities who don,t see anything wrong with the use of this word and are justifying their actions in its use.Me i personally refuse to deal with these fools and want nothing to do with them.

  28. Sophia D

    June 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you for your accurate reply. I’m am so sick and tired of people elevating folks like Jay Z to a state of legitimacy. If you’re going to be honest about a person like him, you must include the fact that he was a drug dealing thug who helped addict his own people to his product. He has also been at the forefront of he disrespectful lyrics spewed towards and about black women. I just don’t understand what’s so complicated about getting that the N word is offensive and should never be used by anyone. The BS notion that they’re all trying to sell that they have taken the sting out of the word is absurd. Lack of education, common sense and sensitivity all play a role in these buffoons believing that they are not only doing no harm but are cool while doing it. I bet his ancestors who were raped, beaten, hanged, humliated, abused and killed didn’t see the humor as they were suffering from the aftermath from people who didn’t see a problem with the word either.

  29. DIABLO

    June 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    is a fucking woed if you dont like it go move to the africa were theres only black people that way you dont have to hear it daam sensitive as black people make me sick always crying racism but black comedians go on tv and say racist jokes about every race and you all know it and you never hear no one of them races crying and bitching about it so why black people bitch about everything and call it racism

  30. Jazz

    June 21, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Anybody that accepts or perpetuates racism is a idiot! Celebrities included.

  31. James Warren

    June 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    It is unfortunate that the word, ni%&$r, is being commercially used by some very rich folk, inclusive of those who appear to be black ,who obviously were not part of the 60s when the struggles and sacrifices made by many inclusive of white folk changed the status of black people in America. There are those who claim it is used as a statement of endearment. I disagree. it is demeaning, ugly and has its roots in the ultimate disrespect for black people.

  32. Professor Kelmer Muhammad

    June 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    How can you blame Ms Paltrow when in fact it was her entourage who were at fault. If she said it around them and they did not correct her, than why should Black America correct her. She only said what her Niggas allowed her to say. She does not owe me an apology nor do I think she owes the Black community. Give me a break!

  33. Les

    June 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I can’t imagine why we should be so upset. After all by our use of the word in the public domain we have given them license to use the word in the public domain. Back in the 90’s when one of our old warriors, Dorothy Height took on the hip hop community regarding their use of the word she got very little support. In fact they were very disrespectful towards her and nobody said a damn thing of consequence. Now we are suprised that someone white has used the word in public? You want to know whose at fault ? We should all walk in the bathroom and look in the mirror.

  34. napfrocurlzgirl

    June 24, 2012 at 2:26 am

    We constantly use the n-word, so until we stop, why would anyone else? Sometimes, we are so hypocritical and sensitive, and way too eager to jump on someone else’s bandwagon and then wonder why we keep falling off.

  35. John H Hill

    June 24, 2012 at 2:29 am

    You either feel good about yourself or you don’t. People who refer to themselves as niggas don’t. Period.

  36. Jed Wing

    June 24, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I think all this concern about the N-word and “degrading images” is overblown. There are black folks in all walks of life, from thugs to the president to doctors like my parents, to jazz musicians and everything in between. If white and other peoples look to this to somehow prove their race-based negative views, then they have no interest in looking at objective reality.

    Dr. Boyce, Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton and the NAACP need to realize it’s not the ’60s or the ’70s – this battle is old, irrelevant news.

    The N-word is only causing pain if you let it. We blacks need to stop reacting emotionally and viscerally to everything like this. The N-word and the behavior of celebrities is not keeping us poor or putting guns in people’s hands. It’s not causing the disintegration of the family and bogus schools that function as internment camps that foster conformity but not critical thinking or creativity or interest in finance or science even appreciation for literature and art.

    The lack of something like the N-word or stereotypes in entertainment hasn’t prevented white America from suffering.

    Problems are caused by economic and political factors. Ecological and mental and emotional degradation is a result of our so-called civilization reaching a crisis, an endgame of a way of life fostered by conquest, greed, viewing the earth and all people as things to be consumed by battling elites who fetishize power.

    The N-word and things like movies and music provide false oppositions, scapegoats, and distractions from hard choices and the difficult work needed to turn black America and the world of the 99% around.

  37. Kim Allah

    June 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    It was our race ( the black race) that made it popular to say. Why we mad again? If this word offends you then you should stop the ones around you from saying it. Educate them on its history. Don’t play or buy the songs that has it in its lyrics. And if you don’t deal with people who say it, your opinion don’t matter. Moving on!

  38. Bobby G

    July 4, 2012 at 12:16 am

    In the circle she was in, she used the word in the most appropriate
    way. I think they understood where she was coming from and I
    seriously doubt she would have said it with another group of black
    people.

  39. DIABLO

    July 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    who cares what she saids is a daam word blacks say all kinda racist shit on stage doing comedy no one complains black people need to get off that shit for real

  40. Morgan

    July 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I’m sorry Dr. Boyce, I really feel as though your entire opinion of Jay-Z and Kanye West is completely off base. Though I do agree with you that Gwyneth should have never used the word to describe who she was with-whether she used it jokingly or not-it was completely unnacceptable. Yes, that is apparent. But have you ever even listened to Watch The Throne? Because if you had, then maybe this entire article would be completely different.
    This is what angers me so about older generations of black people. All you see is the surface, but don’t take the time to actually research what you are talking about. So you saw that the name of the song is “Niggas in Paris”, but have you listened to the song? Or did you just turn up your nose at the title? Seems like the latter would be correct, because if you had’ve listened to the song, better yet the entire album, you would be well educated on the fact that this entire album discusses the need for more black excellence in our communities.
    Have you ever thought that it is a possibility that Kanye and Jay-Z used the term “Niggas”, (yes I spell out the entire word, and I’m not afraid to use it, because being fearful of the word gives it power) to make a point?
    Jay-Z has come a long way in his musical career. He has grown and matured in his actions as well as in his music. You can’t say that he is the same rapper as he was in the ’90s at all. Kanye has NEVER been a hood rapper, because as you said his mother was well educated, and made sure that he was well educated and experienced the world as well. NEVER has Kanye rapped about him being a dope boy or running the streets, because he never did that. He isn’t one of those rappers that pretends to be something he isn’t in order to sell records. And I do agree that Donde West is rolling around in her grave, but for a different reason, completely separate from Kanye’s music.
    I wish that older generations of black people would stop placing all rappers in the same box, because they aren’t all the same. Yes there are rappers that degrade their race and act/look like bafoons on stage and in public to appeal to the main stream market (because believe it or not, that is what white people want to see, not young blacks), but Kanye and Jay-Z are NOT those type of rappers. Maybe it’s time for you to do a little research Dr. Boyce before you begin talking about artists that you have no clue what they stand for or represent. My first suggestion, would be for you to actually take a listen to the Watch The Throne album, and not focus on the negatives (relative to your generation) like the use of the word nigga and the profane language and try to catch the message. Their version of hood life is as accurate as it gets. Not only is it accurate, but their desire/stuggle to get out of that environment and how they describe how they did so is as accurate as it gets. I often hear, “It’s not where you start your journey that is important, it is where you end it.” And I believe that saying to be very true. They don’t promote living and being complacent with living in the ghetto, they encourage young blacks to broaden their horizons and open their minds to try and improve their lives and those of their peers. But you would know this if you actually gave them a chance instead of labeling them based on how they dress. That type of thinking has been proven to be innacurate awhile ago. The world is changing fast, and no longer can you judge a person by their outer appearance; it would be smart for older genrations to try and understand that and keep up with the times. No I don’t condone scantily dressed women or men that sag their pants, but you saying that these men are baffoons because they choose to wear unconventional jewelry is ridiculous and very regressive if you ask me. And who agrees that Jay-Z is the enemy of progress? I don’t know what you have been reading, but Jay-Z represents every type of progress. He promotes positive progress in his music on this Watch The Throne album! But of course you wouldn’t know that because you ostracize him based on his “attire”…
    One thing I do have to say is this is not the 1950s. What was then is not now; what worked then does not work now. We are in a different time and young people think a different way. And if you really want to try and reach the young generation of black people who really do want to make a difference in our black communities (like myself) you should try not shun us or look at things in black and white like so many older black people do, and actually try and understand what we listen to, what we watch and listen to how we feel and what we think before you go and label people as gangstas.
    And for the record, nowhere in “Niggas in Paris” or Watch The Throne or in any Kanye West album or recent Jay-Z album has either one of them talked about what niggas they killed last week or what dope deal they made…because that’s not what they are about. Open your mind, not your mouth all the time and maybe you will learn something.

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