Chuck D urges rappers to stop using N-Word

Artist also encouraged radio stations to take more responsibility

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The Independent Culture

US rapper Chuck D has called for artists, music promoters and record labels to stop using the N-word, which he describes as a “derogatory” term.

The Public Enemy rapper became incensed after attending a recent Summer Jam festival in New York, tweeting his outrage at the continual use of the N-word throughout the show.

Chuck D said he was disturbed that the use of the N-word had become so readily tolerated by radio stations and festival organisers, adding that anti-Semitic or homophobic slurs would not be tolerated by the music industry.

“If there was a festival and it was filled with anti-Semitic slurs... or racial slurs at anyone but black people, what do you think would happen? Why does there have to be such a double standard?” he told Billboard after the show.

Although the N-word has been appropriated by US rappers since the early Nineties, Chuck D said it was time to stop using the offensive term.

He said record labels should consider clauses “saying you can’t be derogatory to the community you came from” in contracts with their artists, and festival organisers should insist performers “at least be civil in the presentation of the art form they’ve been granted with”.

The rapper also criticised Hot 97, the Hip Hop radio station hosting the summer jam, for not promoting more local and diverse artists on its playlist.

In a wide-ranging stream of tweets he called the radio station “a sloppy fiasco” and a “CORPlantation” that had committed a “cultural crime”, and has pledged to change the face and sound of urban radio by the end of the year.

Peter Rosenberg, a well-known DJ on the station, said Chuck D could not blame the “ills of the world” on radio.

“I wish radio sort of served a more grand, positive purpose. But it’s entertainment and a business. And that’s it,” he said.

“In Chuck’s case, and what I thought made his points particularly not salient, was he was like blaming the ills of the world basically on radio. Like talking about the prison system and all these terrible things that he was basically attributing to the powers that be.”