Thursday, November 03, 2005


The Mailbox believes in the power of words. Especially when set in ITC Slimbach. The only smart thing that Rush Limbaugh ever said was about words: "Words mean things." Thank goodness he spit out that gem before getting hooked on painkillers.

In the Oct. 26 issue of the Nixa News-Enterprise, the Mailbox talked about a rapper and his feelings about a certain word. The N-word, to be precise. J.J., official friend of the Mailbox, said Kanye West performed in Columbia Oct. 19. At the Mizzou Arena, the Louis Vitton Don ripped rhymes and rocked the mic with Fantasia and Common.

When it came time to sing his hit "Gold Digger (need Windows Media Player for this link)," the crowd of whites and blacks sang along. The chorus of the unedited version goes something like this: "I ain't sayin' she a gold digger / But she ain't messin' with no broke n*****s."

After the song, West chided the white people in the audience, saying they shouldn't have been singing that "N" word.

The Mailbox understands that there are racists in the world, prejudiced against black people to the point of violence. The Mailbox understands that the N-word spoken by a white person has a derogatory, degrading meaning.

But, the Mailbox is pretty sure that none of those racists were at West's concert.

The Mailbox paid 99 cents to download "Gold Digger" from iTunes. Other people-caucasians, African-Americans and others-paid $17.99 to buy "Late Registration." We all pay $30-$40 to get into West's shows. Haven't we all bought the right to sing along?

"Gold Digger" is an awesome song. It has a dirty-blues backbeat enhanced with Jamie Foxx's Ray Charles invoked voice laying a blisteringly soulful background. The lyrics are creatively syncopated and hilarious. It just happens to have the N-word in the chorus. When sung in the context of the song, the N-word doesn't have any racial connotations.

So, Kanye: If you don't want white people singing along, don't put the word in your song, dawg. White people have money to spend on your CDs, and you are a talented rapper worthy of their--or a person of any color--bucks.

Music can bring races together. African-Americans throughout history have created powerful, wonderful music that moves people of all colors. If Kanye chills out and focuses more on what whites and blacks have in common, he can help kill this racism in American society that doesn't seem to go away.

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