Sunday, December 07, 2008

An Open Letter to Fellow Urban Website Editors, Bloggers, Magazine and Newspaper Writers

I know it’s hard to get by a day without using the N word that we have so richly accepted and embraced in this Hip-Hop/Black culture. I know it’s easy to continue to use the word without abandon simply because it’s a part of our vernacular. I can even agree that I’ve been caught up in the constant use of the word, but, can we make a collaborative effort to stop using that term in the presence of ‘company’?

I try my best not to use the word in my articles, rants and columns, unless done so for emphasis, not to say that it’s right, but just to drive home a point sometimes. What I hate seeing, is when I read a magazine, such as XXL, and the first column I read, within the first two paragraphs, I am already exposed to the N word and then I think to myself, ‘Damn, we are not in the hood speaking amongst ourselves anymore’. Hip-Hop has such a diversified audience nowadays that every word that is literally spoken or written in Hip-Hop is exposed to the masses and we have to stop and wonder why ‘others’ feel as if they can comfortably repeat a statement, phrase or a verse they hear on a rap record or read in an article.

Now, I hate to call out Datwon Thomas, because he is one of the few guys that I honestly like from a standpoint of being a good guy (Except the fact that I haven’t written not one article for XXL, KING or any other Harris property!) or any other Website Owner or Editor that has control over these matters, but we NEED to be careful with what we are putting out there for the masses. None of us would want to hear a white or Asian person using that word so freely, but how can we get mad when we are putting it out there for them to use. And not only use but use in front of us?

I’ve been advocating for years for artists to curb the use of the ignorance of the word but of course, money talks and most rappers continue to use the N word in song. Nowadays, we hear it blatantly on the radio and if the radio stations don’t even bleep it out anymore, then what does that tell us?

It’s bad enough that most popular publications and websites report the negativity that goes on in Hip-Hop without offering the positive aspects of this community. We, as property owners or delegators of content, should be held to a higher standard ESPECIALLY the more popular publications and I would like to see the use of the N word brought to a minimum when you KNOW your audience is mostly the general public.

Collectively, we have to take responsibility for what the general audience is seeing and PARTICULARLY, our children are witnessing the lack of respect not only against us, but amongst us.


MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

Amen to this, my love. Amen. Nowadays, it's almost like if you shun the use of the "N" word, folks dismiss you as old and out of touch. Well, I'm not THAT old, and, as a mother raising children in the south, I've quickly come to understand the implication of using that word around folks who AREN'T us, and use hip hop as a coy excuse to say the world, knowing full well that they're not saying it out of love or friendship. They're saying it to hurt, and hiding behind our ignorant ways.

Really, there is no excuse to say it--for anyone. And there are so many words in the English language to express yourself. Those who lay back on the "N" word should be smacked with a Thesaurus. Hard.

RAHZILLA said...

Much respect for speaking truth to power. Not too many of us do it now a days. I commend you and stand in solidarity with you to eradicate the "N- Word" from my vocabulary.

CathrynMarie said...

A published magazine utilizing the N word overall shows its readers the lack of journalism experience the writer and Editor has, plain and simple.

I don't hung up on the word, meaning it doesn't bother me, because I grew up within a liberal surroundings and it is very little one can say or do to upset when in respect to word. However coming from the view of a previous editor and writer, there are certain things you don't publish. Blogs and such are expemt, imo, however.

Nice write up....

CaT -