In Quinton Tarintinos movie Django pronounced jango (the D is silent) the “N” word is used in the movie 113 times. The movie took such liberties to draw close to the authenticity of the 1800’s. That, no matter how disturbing to some may be fair game. I applaud Mr Tarintino on his bold and courageous use of the word. Mark twin saw fit to use the” N” word in the American classic The Adventures of Hunkleberry Finn, although that was literature the appropriateness of the words use is widely excepted.
The rest of the entertainment industry doesn’t fair as well. Richard Pryor had a comedy album in 1974 entitled That “N” is Crazy. Later Mr. Pryor to Barbra Walters explained why he changed his attitude about the use of the word after he visited Africa. Mr. Pryor never again used the word in his act. The younger more “hip” artists have not found such grace.
Chris Rock and Chris Tucker both frequently and ineloquently use the ”N” word to cover the spectrum of demeaning comments referred to toward other black people.
It is clear to me that Hollywood enjoys the use of the “N” word. It gets attention, sells music and clothes. It is so pervasive in our culture that hardly a head is turned amongst other blacks when young “hip” Blacks use the word to refer to each other.
In 2011 there was famous feud over the use of the word between the rapper “Common” and the great poet Maya Angelou. The Pulitzer Prize winning poet was stunned by the rappers (someone she wrote for and considered a friend) use of the “N” word in song and speech.
The rapper Q-Tip has indicated that he enjoys the use of the word and that he uses it in part to refer to other people “as a term of endearment”. Rap stars seem to view the word as a code to assure their fans that they are indeed hard core, that they are legitimate, that may have arrived from the hood, but that word gives them lasting rights to stay ghetto.
There are some notable celebrity exceptions, Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Cornell West both condemned the casual use of the “N “word among black people. Bill Cosby has been a longtime opponent of the casual use of the explosive word.
This whole shady, demeaning, sick, less than thoughtful use of such a damming word shows us just how Hollywood values history and at the least the social impact of the word on the black and white psyche.
Can white rappers use the” N “word? Can white people use the “N” word when they refer affectionately to their black friends?
This is a case where the liberal entertainment industry is more willing to allow profits to stand in the way of common sense.