By Karri L. Moser
It seems an apology followed by a tweet saying “get off my d*** haters” hasn’t quelled the controversy caused by Madonna referring to her white son as disn***a on Twitter. Nelly, a rap artist originally from Missouri, was asked about the tweet and quickly blasted Madonna for using the word.
Nelly was at the Grammy 2014 party when he was approached by a reporter while on his way out. The reporter asked what he thought about it. Nelly bluntly said, “She needs to get her sh** straight”. While he said he appreciated the fact that she apologized, he didn’t think she has a right to use the word under any circumstances.
The incident sparked shock and outrage across the twitter-sphere. Madonna posted a picture of her son Rocco boxing with the offensive caption to her Instagram account. When asked about it, she promptly apologized and added that it was a term of endearment. Apparently, Nelly and many others do not find anything endearing about it.
While it is a fact that the n-word has been used in art, particularly in the world of hip hop, Madonna’s use of it brings up an age-old debate. Is it ever ok for someone who isn’t black to use the n-word? When Donald Trump referred to Russell Simmons as “my n*****” there was more of an uproar than after Madonna’s use of it by far. Simmons said he got what Trump was trying to say and wasn’t offended, but does that make it ok? There is a school of thought that says the black community reclaims and redefines the word when they choose how and when to use it. There is another school of thought that says it is never alright for anyone ever, that the word should be done away with once and for all. Every side of the debate has been talked about over and over again. One thing is for sure, regardless of who you are, that word and any discussion of its usage brings out strong emotions in everyone. When www.wedoitfortheloveofmusic.com first reported the story of the tweet, the question was posed why Madonna, who has two adopted black children herself, didn’t see the backlash coming. Maybe if we all found a way to express ourselves and our thoughts, but still found a way to take the feelings of others into consideration, we would all be a little wiser and more cautious about what we say, tweet, or post. Then again, artists have different guidelines and rules to play by. Maybe if Madonna had said it in a song and not as a mom talking about her son, it wouldn’t be such a problem, or would it? When a word can convey so much hate and make virtually everyone cringe, is it ever “art” to use it? There are no clear cut answers and this is why the story touches a raw nerve with so many. What are your thoughts on Madonna or any other artists using it? Or, anyone using it for that matter?
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