“Ni**gas in Paris FOR REAL!”- Gwyneth Paltrow pt.1

Whaddup Gumbomonster fans (re-read that an imagine an echo from here on out). Been a while since I posted up on a post because of school and my own personal projects but I’m here now and that’s all that counts (end echo).

Gwyneth “Gwynnie-Gwen-Gwen” Paltrow is feeling the napolm heat for tweeting the words “Ni**as in Paris for real @mrteriusnash (the dream) tyty, beehigh.”

Now if you don’t know, Gwennie is like Beyonce’s right hand, right next to Kelly “We be rolling” Rowland. Billy Johnson Jr., the author of the yahoo.com article I read feels “as an African American person, I agree that Paltrow’s use of the N-word was inappropriate.” As a reader, I hesitated to agree with him but after reading the tweet over and over again, I started to agree. In my mind, she has 3 facts that are in her favor and 1 fact that goes against her.

One of the facts she stated herself in her own defense, “Hold up. It’s the title of the song!” This is true. Even a search of Watch the Throne on itunes shows that the spelling is “Ni**as in Paris.” The second fact in her favor is tied to the first one but it’s the fact that she knew enough not to tweet “Ni**as in Paris” without the two asterisks. Tweeting without the two asterisks would have been less considerate, more controversial, set a standard because of her fame, and less thought out on her part.

The fact that goes against her is that she said, “Ni**as in Paris for real…” The words, “for real” are what made me side with the author’s opinion that the tweet was inappropriate. I interpreted the “for real” as a negative thing because a part of me assumed a negative intention behind her use. I imagined her in the crowd, looking up at Jay Z and Kanye and thinking of them as ni**ers, not ni**gas. Though she spelled it n-i-g-g-a, seeing Gwyneth, a white actress as far as I know, making a comment that I assumed was about Jay Z and Kanye, made me jump to thinking the comment was negative in some way.

After reading the comments and seeing the opinions of mostly white yahoo users, I decided I had to write a Gumbo post and point out the deeper issues behind many of the “thumbed-up” posts (DISCUSSED IN PART2). While preparing to write the post, I took a screenshot of the picture that came with her tweet.

Thanks to the enlarged picture on whosay.com, the 3rd fact that’s in her favor is that Gwyneth Paltrow is actually in the picture as well! She is not in the crowd looking up, she’s on the stage looking down! To me, that made the biggest difference. First, there is the the literal meaning of “Ni**as in Paris for real.” She’s on stage, really in France and really at the concert, not just singing the song in her apartment somewhere in America. Secondly, there’s the interpretative meaning of “for real” which now can be seen positively because in a way, she’s calling herself a ni**a along with Jay Z , Kanye and the whole crowd. This interpretation can almost be as controversial as the tweet itself but I would have less of an issue with her calling herself a ni**a vs. her just calling Jay Z and Kanye ni**as as she stands in the crowd.

Imagine if she said, “My ni**as in Paris.”

lol, that would’ve been wild. Here’s the closing words of the author from the article.

“Based on Paltrow’s stage photo, she was likely caught up in the “N-ggas In Paris” moment, especially since the show was taking place in France.

But Paltrow isn’t the only person confused about the etiquette for using the N-word. There’s one simple rule. If you are not African American there is no instance for using the word that is not going to be taken offensively. It doesn’t matter if you’re friends with the most prominent African Africans on the planet, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Oprah or President Obama. Don’t. Use. The. Word.”

Even though I’ve used asterisks in typing the word, is there a true difference in typing niggas vs. ni**as vs. the N-word? Of course we know there is, but it’s interesting to see how black people and people in general have reacted even with the use of asterisks. Is it the use of the word itself or is it the interpretation into the context? Maybe it’s the controversy of the word and it’s origin altogether. I think there’s more.

Part2 is already written and will be fresh out the oven by tomorrow morning. Part 2 is much heavier and more analytical into the history of the word “nigger,” the etiquette in using the word “nigga” and the reason why many whites feel, “If they can’t use it then neither should we.” See ya tomorrow. T-i-zz-oh!!

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