N*ggas in Paris: Gwyneth Paltrow comes under fire for using the “N- word”

Gwyneth Paltrow has run into a problem that has plagued many white hip hop fans: the appropriate use of the N- word. She was partying with good friends Jay Z and Beyonce in Paris as part of Jay Z’s “Watch the Throne” tour, and posted an ill advised tweet: “Ni**as in paris for real.”

A posted image of the Watch the Throne concert with Gwen's tweet "N*ggas in paris for real!"

The tweet in question. Image courtesy of Twitter

Any serious hiphop fans will know that Gwyneth’s tweet is referencing a song of the same name on the Watch the Throne album. Given that she’s also very good friends with Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce, the logical assumption is that she meant no offence by this tweet, but that has not stopped twitter from blowing up with outrage. Yahoo reports:

Many who took offense to Paltrow using the derogatory term slammed her online. Amanda Seales called Paltrow’s comment “wreckless.” A post on popular African American blog site, Bossip.com, said “Gwyneth might be getting a little too comfortable around her black friends …”

Of course, no one is pretending for a second that Gwenyth was trying to be offensive or racist. Almost everyone seems to be taking issue with the fact that a white girl has had the gall to use a word reserved mainly for black rappers.

I understand that the n word can be a touchy subject, and I believe it’s simply good manners in private life to avoid certain words if you suspect they will offend the people you’re speaking with. If someone is genuinely offended by you referring to them by their first name, I wouldn’t recommend you use it around them, and if someone is genuinely offended by such a racially charged term as the n- word, it’s certainly advisable to avoid the word entirely. I think it’s also important to understand that words evolve and change over time, and the n word does not mean the same thing to a young, white audience of hiphop fans that it used to mean to people in the US during the turn of the 20th century.

There is the n word of old: possibly the most offensive racial slur to come out of the US. It has no place in modern society. None whatsoever. And then there is the n word of modern rap: your n-ggas are the people that have your back. They’re your brothers, your comrades. This new n- word came about from performers trying to reclaim the slur of old, and is featured in the vast majority of hip hop tracks written by black rappers. All this is fine, except they do not want their predominately white fans using this term in any way, shape or form.

If Gwenyth Paltrow is guilty of anything, it’s in attempting to evoke a sense of kinship in a community that does not want her. Apparently it’s fine for the hiphop community to take her money and her patronage, but if she ever gets any illusions she’s one of the n-ggas, she needs to be reminded that she’s only allowed a certain level of familiarity around her black friends. Much is made of the tension between the black and white communities in the US, and one can’t help but wonder if a good deal of that tension would be alleviated if we all stopped looking for offense where none was intended.

Read More:

Jay-Z And Kanye To Blame For Gwyneth Paltrow’s Use Of N-Word  Yahoo

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Categories: Entertainment, Multiculturalism

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2 Comments on “N*ggas in Paris: Gwyneth Paltrow comes under fire for using the “N- word””

  1. Amfortas
    June 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    “Amanda Seales called Paltrow’s comment “wreckless.”

    Someone send this young woman a dictionary, or an entry for to one of the ubiquitous American Spelling Bees, so that she might not be so reckless with her words in future.

    I know, I am being ni**ardly. Paedantic, even. 🙂 🙂

    • James Hill
      June 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      I’m not sure if that is Amanda’s atrocious spelling, or the spelling of the author on the yahoo piece that quoted her. I’ve left it in there as a stern reminder not to be so reckless with our spelling

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