One of the things I find is the double standard when it comes to R&B singers and Hip Hop Artists with anything. It's acceptable for Hip Hop Artists to "beef" with each other(no matter the gender) but it's unacceptable for R&B singers(no matter the gender) to do the same. I guess part of it is because Hip Hop Artists are expected to be hard, edgy and "hood" whereas R&B artists are expected to be soft, subtle and "classy" with the things that they sing. And back in the day, there was a distinct difference between hip hop artists and R&B until both genres merged and it is big part of music and entertainment today.
Not to mention, women in general are supposed to dainty, and "lady-like" as a whole whereas men are supposed to be hard as an example of their masculinity in society. Nevertheless, saying the N word with all it's connotation of the past is still a very controversial thing in our society and in music as a whole. BTW, Nigga and Nigger are actually two different connotations and reflect two different thoughts. I am from "The Hood", and I am 34 which means I grew up when Hip Hop wasn't even as commercial as it is now, and I grew up hearing Nigga for at least 2 decades and maybe a little before that. I, myself, don't use it but I don't get offended over it because as I said, I understand the difference because being called a Nigga and being called a Nigger.
Not to say, I don't understand the offense of the word. As I said in my last entry, the very fact that we have a discussion about racism, means that racism will never be abolished or eradicated. About 50 years ago, this country had segregated schools, restaurants, and even water fountains!!! It takes time to heal from that and philosophies and the residual consequences from that don't fade away. We should always remember our history so that we can learn from it and hopefully, not repeat the things that our ancestors did before us that weren't right. Not to mention, as I said, in my last entry, there are still racists out there who will twist things to promote their agenda. All the time, you hear: "If Blacks can call each other Nigger, why can't we do it?" You also have misogynists trying to find justification in calling women, the B-Word because some women, call each other that in friendly greeting.
So it's a slippery slope, as far as society goes. Nevertheless, when it comes to performing, and music in terms of the entertainment industry some of the best music comes from reflecting what the culture, sub-culture and pop culture alike is. Not to say that anything should be recorded, but the day free speech is free speech at the end of the day. If the Klan can be allowed to march in neighborhoods daily, then an artist saying Nigga is not a big deal especially knowing that the word is not the same as calling someone a Nigger which is always used in a racial context. So with that in mind, I am sick of the media especially, trying to provoke things for ratings and ultimately money. For example, when Nas wanted to call his album Nigger(which he dropped eventually), the right thing to do would have been to ignore him because he was doing it for attention.
As long as the media is willing to do anything for attention, artists will be the same way. Not to say that Bey did that in this case. For one, Bey has said the word before. Irreplaceable comes to mind. In fact, she has even *gasp* cursed on record. And even though, I, myself, don't curse, I don't believe in censorship when it comes to this. In fact, there are times when a curse in order for a song to be fully expressed lyrically, works. I am not going to say that certain songs suck because there are curse words in it. Big Daddy Kane is my favorite MC/Rapper of all time, he cursed A LOT. His prime was during the late 80s and early 90s. He used Nigga also. It didn't stop me from listening to him and I was a teen then. He didn't influence me in the direction that I am now. Anything that I have done, I have taken responsibility for my actions. I will not blame environment, whether it is music or my "hood" for anything that I have done.
Secondly, the song is not even hers. Not to excuse it, but it is coming from Kanye's perspective and we all know that he, as well as many other rappers/MCs, use the word frequently. [Though Kanye himself said that SHE wrote the Hook while singing it, but Bey don't lyric write at all though. *Chuckles*] Even "conscious" rappers have used it. It's always about context when it comes to comprehending anything. There are people who twist Biblical teachings off of misinterpreting the context of the scriptures, like Slavery for example. Same principle here. Not to say that I agree with everything that she does, or I like everything that she does musically or performing. The breast jiggle thing that she did on the Video Phone Video and The Why You Don't Love Me video, I have to keep from cringing, though especially with the latter video, I even got why she did it[it was done right when with the line: I give you everything you want/Everything you need. It actually fits believe it or not].
I think people have a hard time with it, because Bey off stage carries herself different that she does sometimes on the stage. I feel part of the reason why she spoke on Sasha as being her alter-ego was to show that performing is a completely different dynamic for her as oppose to her everyday life. To set the record the straight when it comes to percieving her art and not trying to confuse her artistic expression with her as a person. Not to mention, to show that a woman can be sexy, even push the line for what society thinks is classy and lady-like and still be still be lady like and feminine. And let's face it, whether we like it or not, the N word is not going away anytime soon. No protests, laws, essays, or dissertations are going to make a dent in stopping it.
Music is a personal thing. You either respond to it or not. If the N-Word offends, it is okay but there are musicians who make a conscious effort not to use it. Bey don't say that word much at all. In fact, a lot of people complain about her being too safe. Also, for as much criticism as she gets for being "oversexualized", she don't sing that often about sex. VP is the only song where she even explicitly sings of sex on IA...SF("You want to see me naked") and even that was teasing, not like other singers and rappers who say whatever is provocative. Bey is not a Lil Kim clone. I am not attacking Kim by saying this, but there are two different artists. Bey can even sing about sex and not approach it the way Kim does.
Finally, I think the whole issue that I am speaking of is about authencity. Certain people have more cred in the things that they do than others. Let's say that Bey wanted to do a whole Country Album, some people would have a problem with this because they would think that she's trying to do something that's she not. I heard someone say this when she recorded Diva, and that the poster said that he/she(don't know the gender), like Ciara's cover better because Ciara is more "believable" in being "Hood". Not realizing that if it was not for Bey and DC bringing Urban Music to Pop/Mainstream Top 40 stations and influencing her, she probably wouldn't have been in the industry in the first place because labels wouldn't think that there was a market for her. Hell, Bey is even influencing rappers, like Trina. She's a big part of Urban Mainstream music, whether people like it or not.
People can't have it both ways. You(general you) can't say Bey is not authentic and allow her to sing about what she wants. People can't complain about the expression of her sexuality, but ignore other facets of her performing. As a fan, I don't have to like everything she does, but I can give her the freedom to be what she wants to project as an artist and not take it personal because she don't always do what I might like or say the things that I don't relate to, or express it the way I would if I was singing the same song. This is how I feel, others don't have to agree but hopefully we can all reason together on this because at the end of the day, it's music and our love of music, Bey's music is why most of us are fans.