Simms Jr. explains why the N-word has been revered in black communities, and why everyone else is now joining the party.
You want to know the best defense mechanism black people have had, through the decades in America?
Turning turds to treasure.
Slave masters gave us leftover pig innards, we called it chitlins and ate them for Thanksgiving. (Ok, not a victory for ME, but my Mom loves them). America gave us crushing racism, and we responded with some of the most brilliant, powerful minds in human history (MLK, Malcolm X, Richard Pryor, etc.). The late 1970s and early 1980s gave inner city children no real money to buy musical instruments, so black kids made turntables into an instrument, started hip-hop, which birthed rap music…which gave the world Trinidad James. (Sorry America, our bad.)
Our (black people) biggest accomplishment/trick was to turn the N-word from a cosmic level putdown into a term of endearment. In fact, it’s probably the biggest “flip” in American history. (although I’ve heard the “queer” term/flip in the gay community is kind of close). Black people turned the most hideous word ever into a cool ass description of our closest friends.
It sucks. It makes little sense. But, hey…it’s what blacks have been doing for years. Taking the shit thrown at us and using it for fertilizer.
The problem, as of recently, is that not too many people in the black community/intelligentsia realized that the N-word would/could be used to sell shit. (Richard Pryor’s “That Ni**er’s Crazy” did in the 1970s, my bad). Between Jay-Z and Quentin Tarantino, the N-word has become the bedrock for billion dollar industries. And when anything really sells in America, it’s automatically public domain.
Thus, the confusion about who can actually say the N-word. Yeah, black folks have expressed outrage when non-blacks say it, but when two million people download Lil Wayne’s latest single, which has the N-word in its hook, how can we (black people) be mad when non-blacks scream the word in a nightclub, or a party? Or, if someone who isn’t black tweets the N-word on Twitter? Can black people be upset at a 17 year old white teenager who may post a tweet with the N-word in it…who listens to nothing but mainstream hip-hop? (And probably has a shitload of black friends, who probably call each other…you know what.)
The 21st century. Where everybody is my N-word.