So the latest little celebrity controversy seems to be that Gwyneth Paltrow playfully tweeted a version of the “N-word” the other day, referring to her friends Beyonce and Jay-Z.
She tweeted this in response to hanging out with her buds in Paris for Kanye’s and Jay-Z’s tour:
Needless to say, many African-Americans did not appreciate her use of the term and Gwyneth had to defend her tweet. She tweeted back to one blogger:
That explanation was not enough for many. And therein lies the complication with that word. Some Blacks freely use the word and defend its usage as a way to neutralize its power. Some rappers use it all the time, as Gwyneth rightfully pointed out about Jay’s song. I’m with Gwyneth on this one. What was she supposed to do, not mention the name of the song that Jay himself put out to the world?!
Many of those railing against Paltrow of course used the logic that no white person should ever use that word even if Black people are allowed to. I disagree. I stand on the side that says the word should be buried completely. It is too charged a word to think it can be used positively in any way. So I say to anyone that thinks it is OK for Blacks to use the word, then accept that it is OK for anyone to use the word. If Jay-Z wants to put the word out there in such a large way, then Gwyneth and anyone else should be able to reference it. It’s one of the silliest things I ever heard to hear someone say a White person can never ever let the word come out of their mouth, even if they are saying the name of a song. That is just silly. If rappers want to make the word cool, or so they think by changing the spelling and pronunciation, then unless we want to protest that, we shouldn’t protest others thinking it is cool to say the word in a circumstance like Paltrow’s where she was clearly not being racist.
Come on people. As this controversy shows, the word is not easily accepted. Put pressure on all people, including Blacks, that use it. Or accept that it is OK for Gwyneth and others to use it too.
Here is a full article on the controversy, from someone who thinks Gwyneth was wrong, but it is OK for Jay Z to put the word out front and center all over the world.