When Did It Become Okay For Justin Bieber To Use The N-Word?
Hot on the heels of his first apology for being caught on camera spewing racial jokes at black people, a second video of Justin Bieber making a racist joke about killing black people and joining white supremacist group The Ku Klux Klan has surfaced online. In the distressing new clip, Bieber changes the lyrics of his 2009 song One Less Lonely Girl, which was penned by his mentor Usher, to One Less Lonely N****r.
Of course, the racism debate began, but what’s more surprising, is the growing list of celebrities who quickly came forward to vehemently defend Bieber. “N***** doesn’t mean anything in Canada,” Whoopi Goldberg explained on Twitter. “Black Canadians and Black Americans are two separate groups of people.” Russell Brand also shared his thoughts on the singer’s recent scandal.
“Unless we’re going to explicitly say the role of celebrities is we’re going to make them really, really famous and then we’re going to destroy them and rip them up in a public square with fish hooks, which, you know as long as you don’t get round to me, I’m not against,” Brand goes on. “But we might as well own up to it if that is what we’re up to, otherwise just let him off. Of course it’s wrong to say the N-word, but he’s a child.”
This does beg the question whether we’ve been desensitized to the N-Word? Today, one genre that escapes any kind of N-word censorship is music, especially Hip Hop. Mainstream artists like Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nick Minaj and YG use then-word prolifically. Whether we want to believe it or not, Hip Hop culture has popularized the N word so much that they’ve made it okay for people of all races to throw the word around as slang.
If you recall, Gwenyth Paltrow was slammed a few years ago for tweeting out “Ni**as in Paris for real,” during Jay Z and Kanye West’s concert in Paris, after they performed their “N-ggas In Paris" hit 11 times that night. The next day The-Dream defended Gewnyth Paltrow using the word when he wrote:
Yall Give “N—a To Much power” somewhere the actual racist People are Laughing there asses off, so much energy. Let that Word hold power over me but yet use it as Power. Those same slaves Great,Great grands are Wiser now and Free!
I’m not Saying don’t forget but be logical and use common sense. If it meant the Same as it Did [during slavery] then WE wouldn’t use it, that would make us ignorant We USE IT because evidently it doesn’t mean the same. If you really give a sh-t, stop using it.
Madonna has also fallen foul of the term. The singer used the word as a term of endearment to describe her white son. Even though Madonna faced a lot of backlash, a quick scan through Instagram showed that the #disn-gga hashtag already existed on Instagram, and an overwhelming number of non-black Instagram users who are using it.
Here’s the problem. How many times can we let Bieber or other celebrities slide for using the N-word without any consequences or repercussions for their actions? Whether you agree or disagree to the usage of the word, at the end of the day, it’s a derogatory term that has been traditionally and is still frequently used by members of one race to insult and demean members of another race. The fact that it is now sometimes appropriated in different contexts does not change that, and it most especially doesn’t change it with regard to you as a white person applying it to black people.
What do you think of Justin Bieber’s use of the N-word? Should people, no matter race, stop using it altogether? Tweet us your thoughts @MOBOAwards