The Paula Deen controversy yet again, has folk taking sides–is using the N-Word EVER okay, even for people of color? This week, singer Ciara chimed in on Access Hollywood Live. When the show’s co-host Billy Bush brought up the N-word debate, and noted that the word is used in Ciara’s new song, “I’m Out,” he asked her to chime in on the topic. “What are your feelings about it… about the N-word,” Billy asked. The 27-year-old explained:
As an entertainer you have fun and it’s all about the context it’s used in. I am an African-American woman, so I can identify with that word in different ways. It’s all about the context and in my case I know I can have fun because I know where I’m coming from with it. You have to be light-hearted and it has to be in a certain way. I cannot hear another person of another race saying, ‘you this’ like ‘you that.’ Again, it’s all about how you say it and what context it’s used in.
That word has as much power as you give it. That word is so old that it references the context of where it comes from. I want to make sure I’m clear about that, it doesn’t mean that same thing that it could have meant years ago, especially when we can have fun about it. I’m all about empowering women, I’m all about empowering myself. As a human being, I would never use any word that would be degrading to myself… or to anyone else.
What are your thoughts on Ciara’s reasoning for using the n-word? And should artists be limited creatively to not use the term?