Jay-Z Talks How Hip-Hop Transformed the N-Word Into an Empowering Term

Jay-Z Talks How Hip-Hop Transformed the N-Word Into an Empowering Term

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On the topic of the use of the n-word, rap giant Jay-Z has openly voiced his opinion. “Words. People give words power,” Jay-Z told Oprah in 2009. “And for our generation, what we did was we took the word and we took the power out of that word. We turned a word that was very ugly and hurtful into a term of endearment.”

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Now, on a simiular platform, Jigga is once again sharing his views on the controversial word. Featured on David Letterman’s new Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the NY native’s views on whether or not the n-word is okay to say stayed consistent with his views from nearly a decade ago.

“When someone has used a word to down your entire culture, what hip-hop did is take that word and flip it, use it as a word of empowerment,” the artist said. Referencing his conversation with Oprah and the point that the media proprietor made all those years ago, the mogul continued, “There’s gonna be people that disagree and agree with this, which is fine… Some people are highly offended from another generation because they believe that it’s the last word that people heard before they died.”

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The 4:44 rapper went on to say that he believes that even if the term were to go used, “people who are inherently racist will just replace it with a different word.”

Over decades of time, several racial slurs have developed with the intent to offend black people, but no term stuck or evolved, as Jay would say, like the n-word. Though it acts as a major gapping point and a hot topic discussion between older and younger generations, the word is effortlessly included in television shows, movies and, of course, hip-hop music.

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