On Tuesday a video emerged of members of the Alpha Phi Sorority at the University of New Hampshire singing and dancing at a party. Now while on the surface that may seem unimportant, the video shows the sorority sisters singing the popular Kanye West song "Gold Digger" but not omitting the "n-word" which brought forth a storm of outrage online.
Since the video came out, Daily Mail Columnist Piers Morgan wrote a report on the issue that took most critics to task. Morgan called the backlash to the video "utter nonsense!" and asked the question "How can it possibly be racist to sing along to a song that was number one in America for TEN WEEKS?"
The article goes on to ask the difference between ending the word with an "er" and an "a" as well as the level of consequence for using either. Morgan then cites several examples of the word's use by several members of the black community, but not before mentioning that the NAACP condemns both iterations of the word.
He discussed how Larry Wilmore used the word to refer to former President Obama during the White House Correspondents Dinner, and how several journalists explained that this use shouldn't be considered a slur because it used the 'a' iteration.
Now comes the most important point in Morgan's case in which he quoted a statement by Kanye West himself. "If niggas is such a positive word, why do we feel so uncomfortable for white people to say it, even with a hall pass?"
Morgan argues that none of the sisters in the video thought about the racial implications of singing the song and simply just got carried away during a party. The columnist then went on to say that it wasn't the sisters who wrote and benefitted off of the song, it was Kanye West.
Morgan ends his piece saying "There Alpha Phi Sorority sisters did nothing wrong. If you want someone to blame, then blame Kanye West." This re-direction of the blame can be applied to the music industry at large.
If black artists and musicians persist in using the word in whatever iteration, do they also expect that sections of their audience that are not black omit the word every time they recite a song?
Of course, the n-word is offensive, but in the context of being at a party with your friends and rapping your favorite Kanye lyric should it really amount to being labeled a racist?
At this point in music, the n-word is commonplace, with a definitive place in Hip-Hop and R & B, but maybe it shouldn't be if it is so offensive. Maybe artists should take a stand against the use of the word entirely, as Morgan seems to suggest.
Or, if the music industry doesn't want to get rid of the word, why should the fans have to face a consequence for reciting it?
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