All seemed fine when Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar invited a white fan from the crowd onstage to perform his song “M.A.A.D City” during his concert in Alabama. But when the fan, Delaney rapped the N-word as part of the lyrics, Lamar stopped the track and told her, “you gotta bleep one single word, though.”
A humiliated Delaney proceeded to apologize repeatedly onstage while fans of both races audibly booed and heckled her.
Video clips of the incident have set social media on fire. Some are siding with Lamar by deeming the derogatory N-word as exclusive to black people, while (most) others disagree with the rapper’s double standard.
I am part of the latter team, because this unveils a hypocrisy within singers, songwriters and rappers who actively choose to endorse the reuse of such words. If you don’t want a certain word or term being repeated, avoid putting it in your lyrics, because you indirectly encourage your faithful listeners, regardless of race, to sing those exact words out loud when they replay it (unless of course you’re a singer that actually hates anyone else singing along to your tunes.)
In the words of Whoopi Goldberg, who commented about the incident on The View, “don’t put it in if you don’t want people to sing it.”
Language, be it civilized or vulgar, is not exclusive to any one culture. Artists who disagree with the use of any historically charged derogatory term should not be held to a different standard when it comes to the endorsement of said term. If you deem all cultures as equal, then set an equal standard and subscribe to it.
Lamar has yet to make a public statement about this incident, which isn’t so bad actually. I wouldn’t want him justifying his hypocrisy especially since he’s an artist who claims to stand for equality.