Sound Off: V-Nasty Defends Use of the “N” WordJuly 22nd, 2011
A great debate is brewing in hip hop over an interesting new controversy surrounding new Bay Area hip hop sensation Kreayshawn and her “Whit Girl Mob” collective. Outspoken member V-Nasty has raised quite a few eyebrows with her decision to use the “N” word in her music.
After my immediate knee-jerk reaction of being appalled, I took some time to investigate this precocious youngster fresh on the scene. Known as Vanessa to her friends, V-Nasty appears to be nothing more than a product of her environment. A white girl from the East Bay of Oakland, California, V-Nasty’s viral videos come off as more defiant and outlandish than racist or mean-spirited. The music, which made her famous to the world, “‘You Already Know Me” and the mind-numbing “Fresh Outta Jail” freestyle seems innocent enough. And it’s after researching V-Nasty’s persona that my immediate reaction to scream “racist” began to wain. In fact, I began to seriously ponder this racial and cultural divide.
My reaction — much like most on the African-American side of hip hop — is a dubious one to have. Power 99’s Tazz Daddy cornered Kreayshawn during a recent performance accusing her of using the “N” word, and was later corrected. While the “Gucci Gucci” singer wanted to clear up any misconception that she embraces such a controversial word, she also wanted to support her “White Girl Mob” cohort, saying, “When we’re in Oakland and that whole thing before everyone was staring at us I was like, I don’t care.” She went to say, “That’s V-Nasty that’s her. But now that everyone’s freaking out about it and thinking I’m saying it, I’ve told her to be cool on that!” She’s the Wacka Flocka of the group–she doesn’t care. She doesn’t get it!”
The constant argument between black and non-black people using the word nicca, or nigga, is nothing new in hip hop. But dare I say that it’s time we stop such a silly argument? With the turn of the century past us, we must also leave behind a few of our archaic beliefs. Homosexuals are vastly closer to marriage equality. We currently have a sitting African-American president, Black culture has been absorbed throughout the fabric of the world and the United States of America. And yet with all these advancements, the notion that non-black people — in this day and age — should still refrain from using a word we’ve deemed our own is absurd.
Let’s be clear for a second; it’s African-Americans who’ve wrapped up years of oppression and strife into plastic-wrapped CDs and sold them to white America. It’s Black people who’ve made the conscious decision to use a word filled with such sacrifice, torment and degradation and wear it as a badge of exclusivity, rather than abolish it. So unfortunately, until Black people as a whole can reconcile that zaney philosophy, we can’t ban a group of people for buying into what was sold and have now embraced into their vocabulary.
V-Nasty boldly responded to all the controversy in a video clip saying, “…is it a race? Am I offending people. Am I saying it in a disrespectful way? She goes on to say, “Don’t be trying to change up my vocabulary because I’m on and I got out the hood. People say I try to act Black. How do you act a race? Is Obama trying to act white?”
As much as one may want to cringe, her points (while not articulated correctly) are valid and need to be strongly considered before anyone challenges her right to practice her First Amendment right to say whatever the she desires, no matter how controversial she is. And no matter how conflicted Blacks may feel.