Mos Def: Mr. Nigga No More

“Who is the cat going out on the town/
that let the movie industry turn his shit around?/”

-Ron Mexico, “Mr. Nigga [No More]“

Mr. Nigga! Smart-dumb nigga!

See, shit like this is why Mos Def was in the SDN Tournament.

“It was something that was very important to us… It was our way of making a statement that we can express ourselves without using the N-word. But it wasn’t just in the movie that we banned the word. We also banned it on the set. No one could say it at all. At first it was difficult, but we really stayed on top of each other. By the end of … filming, I don’t know if it was something that even came up. We just didn’t say it, and had no desire to. I hope that other people will start trying to find new ways to express themselves as well.”

Wood Harris, Rolling Out Magazine

By “us”, Sherwood Harris means the Zulu Gestapo N-word Taskforce consisting of himself, Mos Def, Mike Epps and Donald FaisonNext Day Air’s highest-billed cast members.

I’d like to know how they got Mike Epps to refrain from saying “nigga” for weeks on end. Nigga must have been backsliding like a newly-bowtied Nation of Islam member. I mean, sometimes you forget grandma-nana puts hamhocks in the collard greens, right? Could you picture this nigga policing niggas to not say “nigga”?

Caterer 1: *carrying grill table* [To Caterer 2] Got damn! This fuckin hibachi heavy than a mawfucka! I’m sweatin’ my balls off.

Caterer 2: *also carrying loaded grill table* Hell yea. I still can’t believe fuckin Gangstalicious and Day-Day demanded all this shit!

Caterer 1: Them niggas is wylin.

Mike Epps: *excitedly to both caterers* Did y’all niggas just say what I think y’all said? Y’all mawfuckas know we ain’t sayin “nigga” no more. Obama is president. It’s about to be a unicorn jizz shower any minute. Y’all niggas should be ashamed of y’allselves.

Caterer 2: *reluctantly* You right. Won’t happen again.

Mike: *mocking slave talk* Won’t hap’n again. *flashing signature grin* Fuckin better not, nigga. And don’t be askin no questions ’bout why we got a mawfuckin hana grill on set. We got some fat bitches comin by after we done shootin.

I’d also like to know who they think will watch an All About The Benjamins rehashing that doesn’t include the word “nigga”.

Even the staunchest, most indignant quasi-progressives want to see that much, my nigga.

I find great irony in Harris serving as the face of such a statement. What happened, Ace? Did Mitch’s death change everything? Niggas get shot e’y day, bee. You’ll be aight, nigga. You tough, right? … You know what? You just need a little more rest, bee. Cover up. Get you some soup. Some tea. In the meantime, perhaps I should ask Avon Barksdale. Up in this bitch, he’s what you might consider… an authority figure.

[Blogger’s Note: Avon, I'm likely to believe. It’s Stringer’s word that’s shit.]

Much of The Wire’s greatness comes in its ability to portray the streets realistically without losing much in translation. This includes authentic language. Had The Wire not undertaken due diligence in this regard, the series would have been cancelled after its second season at the latest. In fact, had The Wire not undertaken due diligence in this regard, Sher-wouldn’t have such a lucrative career as a B-movie all-star goon.

[Blogger's Note: See what I did there? That's wordplay!]

As performers and content developers, we often find moral quandary in search of social responsibility, as it were. Dave Chappelle walked away from a $50 million Comedy Central deal for this reason. Richard Pryor became the black Chevy Chase for a while after a trip to the motherland. Bill Cosby–… Well, that nigga was always a coon, but you feel me. I assure you that no consolation or victory comes of an assault on language. Next Day Air’s band of rapster-slash-Sharptons need be more concerned with the film’s overall message and potentially poisonous imagery than with how many times their characters say the vilest word ever uttered.

I sleep comfortably at night knowing that my comedy and social commentary therein come with the best of intentions. Through this medium, language becomes a powerful tool with which we can simultaneously inform and entertain. Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides is one of hip-hop’s finest examples of such edutainment. What would revisiting Mos’ discography and eradicating the magic word accomplish, aside from further emasculating a man who ascended to the throes of the wealthy and oblivious on a platform of lower-middle class rebellion?

There are a myriad of reasons as to why people avoid the term in question. While I respect most of them, many such restrictions appease a certain sense of guilt better contested with real social progress. I’m thinking that shit’d be entirely too difficult, though. As with any form of speech, I use the word “nigga” differently on a case-by-case basis. For example, unless I want a rolling pin to the face, I don’t use the term in my grandma-nana’s presence, despite the fact that I overhear her referring to fellow church members as “cricket-ass nig-a-rows”. When I’m with my niggas, “nigga” is openly used a term of endearment signifying the highest esteem.

We do a lot of great things with “nigga”. I won’t lambaste you with the whole “we done flipped it and turned a negative to a positive” cliché. However, words only have the power they’re given by intention. I’d rather be called a nig-gerrr with the “-er” suffix than be undermined and patronized by the polite, hollow language of an actual racist. To undermine your audience’s intelligence this way is not only unfair, but reeks of the very coonery a statement like an imposed moratorium on a mere collection of letters intends to combat.

Nigga, please.

Besides, if language evolves continuously, why can’t my niggas? Hmm. Maybe a nigga should save his energy and leave natural selection to its work.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Still Mr. Nigga? I don’t find it surprising. ron@ronmexicocity.com

  • Pierzy

    Seriously…

    Language is a major factor in deciding whether something is authentic or not, regardless of the medium. If you’re watching or listening to something and you know that a character/artist would NEVER say that, it completely ruins it.

    Mike Epps without the N word is like, well, Chris Rock without the N word.

    • MO

      Damn you are white.

      • Pierzy

        Hell yeah…

  • Chris Cash

    I totally agree, but i wonder would i have noticed if i hadnt all ready know.

    The only problem I have with the word is the awkwardness it brings within a mix crowd of blacks and whites, but thats life and its kinda funny watchin white folks skipping over the word when there reciting lyrics.

  • that nigga

    “They say we N.I.G.G.E.R/We are/ Much more/ Still we choose to endure the obvious/……(fogot the rest) We were scholars way before colleges….

    Nigga, Nigga, Nigga, Nigga, Nigga…

    • Dub Sac

      “Man, this history don’t acknowledge us”

      I believe that’s the phrase you’re looking for.

    • http://KNnation.com KY KN Reppin’

      It’s “Still we choose to IGNORE the obvious”

      Sorry…my OCD was kicking in…had to correct the lyrics lol

  • http://dasteamwerkmusik.blogspot.com The Bollocks

    Dag, Ron, you are comin HARD right now.

    Love this post. THANK YOU for being one of the few hip-hop bloggers to deal with this issue intelligently, levelheadedly, and (most importantly) REALISTICALLY.

    People don’t understand that sweeping shit under the rug doesn’t work. Political Correctness can be taken to far– to a point where we focus so much on recognizing the “proper” names to call one another, we reinforce and enhance our divisions.

    Word life, Ron. You just became my favorite blogger.

  • Enlightened

    Just when I said I wouldn’t read your bullshit blog no more – with your corny ass – you pulled me in with a topic I wanted to read about, but once again…bullshit attempt at satire – unfunny (what’s with that unicorn jizz bullshit you keep saying?)

    Here’s something that you ironically missed in your tirade. You said, “Much of The Wire’s greatness comes in its ability to portray the streets realistically without losing much in translation. This includes authentic language.”

    Well guess what…SA PRIZE NIGGA. They didn’t even use the word nigga on The Wire. But you didn’t notice because the language was so “authentic” huh?

    Regardless if we use the word ourselves, the fact remains that the Americans, who these people want to watch the movies and TV shows, don’t understand or get offended or just don’t watch when they hear us saying nigga every 5 minutes.

    Those niggas ain’t trying to tell us don’t use it at all, they were trying to prove a point that they can be entertaining while not using it, and try to increase the bottom line and watchability of the movie for NON-NIGGAS.

    • Zulu1925

      @ Enlightened

      One of my favorite episodes of The Wire, the one that comes on with the Avon Barksdale quote, “Just a gangster, I suppose.” DEFINITELY used the word ‘nigger.’ Marlo is grabbing corners and Avon’s upset. Stringer asks Avon something like ‘How much money we need’ or ‘How many cornes we need?’ Avon replies, “More than a nigger can spend.”

    • Around and Around

      Melvin ‘Cheese’ Wagstaff: There ain’t no back in the day, nigga. Ain’t no nostalgia to this shit here. There’s just the street and the game and what happen here today.

      Wire last season
      —————-

      Enlightened is the newly-bowtied NOI backslidin ass nigga

      • FlapJack

        My favourite, when Snoop is buying a nailgun:

        I seen a tiny ass 22 round-nose
        strap a nigga plenty of days man. Motherfuckers get up in you
        like a pinball.

        • Enlightened

          Yeah, y’all got me on that one now that y’all started quoting shit. I’m thinking of episodes when I would watch it and they didn’t say it at all. They would keep saying “boy” all the time. But y’all right about that. They didn’t say it as much as regular niggas like that would in real life though

        • Smel

          That “boy” is a Baltimore thing when it’s pronounced like that (i.e. Snooplike)

    • DV8

      (what’s with that unicorn jizz bullshit you keep saying?)

      He’s saying that its some shit that is not a reality, that shit would never happen in real life. You know like the saying “when pigs fly”. Just because you dont get it doesnt mean its corny. Catch up, nigga.

      How many of yall got this text.
      “They said that pigs will fly before we have a black president, 100 days in Swine Flu”

      • chillin mayne

        DV8 u postin dat lil wordplay/pun wateva it is like its hard to comprehend in da first place….but actually…with all dese dumb cats runnin around im sure at least 60 percent of people dat read it wont get it…minimum

    • The W, formerly known as WarriorMentality

      @ Enlightened:

      you’re a fuckin’ clown, b. or you never watched a single episode of the show. one or the other.

  • OG Matt Herbz

    Yeah, I’m still THAT White Nigga in the message boards. Never gon’ change.

    And you’re right, Mex, that whole N-Word “negative to a positive” thing is REALLY cliché. I’m just sayin’…

    –OG Matt Herbz–

    • ko

      Nah you’re just white.

  • Enlightenment for Enlightened

    Erm, Enlightened, thanks for playing, but not only do they say “nigga” on The Wire, but (drumroll please) THEY SAY IT IN THE CLIP ATTACHED TO THE BLOG. Get the unicorn jizz out of your ears and listen again.

  • $ykotic

    We got swine flu and broke issues in the air and we still worried about the “N” word?

    Come on let’s move on will ya! I thought we redefined it a while ago?

    A racist can be seen a mile away. Then T.O.S. their ass.

    It’s just that mofo’s know the Obama family might watch the movie.

    The unicorn jizz as I see it denotes the magic dust being throw to hypnotize the masses. All rainbow brite with marshmallow fluff.

  • geico lizard

    That movie looks like a straight to DVD that accidentally green lit for bigscreens. Mos Def and Don faison are funny on the boondocks but this looks worse than a tyler perry play.

    • Enlightened

      Nigga, are you serious? What the fuck is wrong with your thought process? You must be the type of nigga that would be hollerin’ how great it looks if Quentin Tarantino would have done it.

  • Worley

    “You just need a little more rest, bee. Cover up. Get you some soup. Some tea.”

    Don’t forget the crunching of pork rinds.

    Enlightened take all that preaching over to Vibe, Sandra Rose or some other estrogen spot. They definitely used n*gga on The Wire. I can think of one moment in particular: when Cutty went to Avon looking for a donation to the gym. Avon responded “give the n*gga 50 thousand” or something along those lines.

  • PARIS PERSHUN

    ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF FAMOUS MUFUCKAS DOIN SHIT AND EXPECTING EVERYBODY ELSE TO DO IT TOO…. AS IF THEY COULD CARE… AND TRUTHFULLY THIS WOULD BE BULLSHIT CAUSE MOVIES ARE USUALLY FILMED LIKE MONTHS BEFORE WE ACTUALLY START SEEING THE COMMERCIALS FOR THEM… JUST WEEKS AGO ON THAT YOUTUBE VIDEO WHERE MOS DEF WAS CALLIN’ OUT JAY AND WAYNE AND NAS AND BEANS AND ANDRE’ HE MUSTA SAID “NIGGA’ OR THE PLURAL MORE THAN A COUPLE TIMES….. MEANING… AFTER THE MOVIE WAS DONE SHOOTING MOS WAS BACK TO SAYIN IT….. BE REAL MUFUCKAS…. ITS A WORD WE ALL GREW UP ON…… PROBABLY HAVE BETTER LUCK TELLIN NIGGAS NOT TO CURSE….

  • Detroit Draper

    I agree with enlightened…Ron’s blogs are pretty lame=not funny.

  • kise

    Obama is a master of deception. He doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing. That’s sad when all it takes to become president these days is an image.

  • BIGNAT

    “Mike: *mocking slave talk* Won’t hap’n again. *flashing signature grin* Fuckin better not, nigga. And don’t be askin no questions ’bout why we got a mawfuckin hana grill on set. We got some fat bitches comin by after we done shootin.”

    that was funny as hell ron ron and you really proved a point that makes sense. like if you really research the word and where it comes from. in it’s base form to the evolution of what it became. i find it funny that it’s a term used for a worker. then it became a term used for a free worker also know as a slave. then it became a word to define a race. then flipped by it’s own people to be used as a positive term as well as negative. all races have there own form of nigger if you feel what i mean. like spanish people have spic or beaner the jewish people kike and the list goes on and on.
    a guy came to my job a couple weeks ago he said he was from pakistan. he was talking about how he felt about obama and wondered if he said nigger around his friends. he went on to say you know what white people call us sand niggas. i tried real hard not to laugh in his face but i could not help it. then he looked at me and he was like yeah i think it’s funny to.

  • Lowedwn

    Mexico you’ve been on fire for minute now with theses posts.

    I’m sorry, but i seriously fail to believe Mike Epps went how many weeks without letting that slip, and is Donald Faison even allowed to say the N-word? Besides “Next Day Air” ain’t this his first “nigga flick”. Although he does get props for hugging up with Stacey Dash in “Clueless”.

  • 1hunid

    “…words only have the power they’re given by intention.”

    Well said.

  • JDS

    “Those niggas ain’t trying to tell us don’t use it at all, they were trying to prove a point that they can be entertaining while not using it, and try to increase the bottom line and watchability of the movie for NON-NIGGAS.”

    - Enlightened

    this entire post is made pointless by the quote above. smh @ shittin’ on dudes because they decided to not say the word. people talk all the time about the word not being a big deal but throw a fit when a nigga decides to remove it from his lexicon.

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

    That was a good read, Mex.

    I try not to use the word, but not because it’s “negative” or implies some sort of social hierachy, thusly downing Americans of African Descent.

    I just think that it’s overused & mistreated. Through all the “phases” of the term, it always meant something. Our fathers’ generation seemed to be the last one who used it with some sort of endearment attached. Now, it’s tossed around so willy-nilly that it’s lost steam. Like if you keep calling your girl a bitch, she’ll eventually stop taking you seriously. Until you dot her eye.

    Once other races (namely hispanics in L.A.) adapted it so intently, yet still used it to infer some sort of disrespect (ay nigga, I hate those pinche niggers), I know that was a wrap.

    Although, can’t front, I love to say it in mixed company, to see if anyone gets baited in to thinking it’s okay to say it.

  • Stevie B

    “I say nigga so much it makes my teeth white”.
    -Paul Mooney

    Im not going tp stop saying it why should I no one has givin me a valid reason to

    If it doesn’t apply let it fly

  • Jhon da Analyst

    *Enter Stinkmeaner*

    What’s reeaally good niiiigggggaaa??!!”

    • ?

      LMFAO
      Ahaaaa I was thinking about that!

      “Fuck your court niiiiigaaaaaa!”

      But anyway this is exactly why you’re my fav blogger Mex.

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

    “Niggas get shot e’y day, bee. You’ll be aight, nigga. You tough, right? … You know what? You just need a little more rest, bee. Cover up. Get you some soup. Some tea.”

    *pops in “Paid In Full” DVD*

    • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

      Haha I was thinking the same thing LOL

      Honestly though, I don’t throw around the word ‘nigga’ around alot of folks unless I’m around my peeps that are black. I hang out with a lot of different races, so if I end up hanging with a predominantly white, asian, or even hispanic crowd, I usually stop myself from saying it altogether (unless they one of my peoples and they known me for awhile and know how I am anyway). I always thought it’d be funny to be in a crowd of mostly white folks and just yell “MY NIGGA!” though! *no Mike Epps* LOL

  • i read a lotta books

    damn, Ron, your writing is becoming very hard to read let alone sift humor from. it comes across dense, hyper, and way, way too verbose.

    i hardly know what youre talking about, duke. i just know youre clowning Mos somehow about some movie.

    (by the way the bolded words – are we meant to google them? i know actual links wouldn’t be as unique but really thats too much back and forth just to ‘get’ a paragraph).

    now, i suppose i should google ‘Mos Def n-word new movie’ and thus defeat the point of having clicked on your blog.

    *sigh*

  • DETROIT

    HEY RON,

    I JUST SAW TRU LIFE EATING CEREAL WITH CHAMPAGNE INSTED OF MILK!

    GET EM!

  • Smel

    Let me find out you be readin Bossip Mex

  • http://na press-select

    if you black american you will always be a decendant of slaves
    you will hear the word nigger in ur lifetime you will learn about the real meaning of the word after you use it … white people cant call you that to ur face no more this is a prilege they no longer hold a privledge shared amonst yur peers …. using the word today is like the struggle continues we cannot forget the past when that word comes up this word is power and a sign of freedom freedom of expression …. white people can be called niggas from now on or @least superniggas cos they’ve always been free