Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why You Mad, My Nigga (er)?

When I saw Nas and Kelis at the Grammy's wearing Nigga attire, I put my hands over my eyes and ducked. Shame, shame, shame. I remember commenting on one blog: I'll ride with Nas, but this time he's taken it too far with the Nigga clothes. I was just as puzzled as you.

But wait. To be real, most of us say "nigga" everyday, yet we think Nas went too far by naming his CD Nigger...? Have we fooled ourselves into believing that nigga is OK? And, if we have decided to rest and relax in denial, then surely seeing and saying the real word, nigger, should be OK, too. No?

The truth is that no matter how we try to define and redifine nigger/nigga, it's still nigger. At the most basic of levels, it's still a bad word. "Ugly" don't mean "pretty" and "rich" don't mean "poor". Nigga is to nigger as brotha is to brother. We can put salt and pepper on odorless shit, but it's still shit.

Nas has forced us remember and reflect on everything that we've become - and haven't become - from the time we were niggers to niggas. I think we're hating Nas for putting Nigga on front street because we're ashamed to have embraced such a sad and vile word as part of our every day vernacular. If we weren't so ashamed I don't think we'd believe Nas was crazy for naming his CD Nigga.
It's just a word... right?