In the early 90s there was a moderately successful rapper by the name of MC Breed who made a significant splash in the hip-hop world with the song, Ain’t No Future in yo’ Frontin. Put simply, MC Breed was advising the world that there was no future in promoting falsity in life. In ‘hood’ vernacular, ‘be true to the game.’
Now I am certain that you are wondering why I am even mentioning MC Breed, Lord know that I did not wake up intending to mention this relatively minor rap icon. However, the impetus to me resurrecting MC Breed from the dead flows from a slight dust up that Terrence Howard, the star of the incredibly successful show Empire, has caused with his desire to bring more authenticity to a show that maligns and assassinates the African-American persona at every turn. Mention any stereotype that has been associated with Black America since their arrival on the North American continent and I challenge you to not find it in this hit show.
Empire has it all: drug dealing, drug abuse, homosexuality, psychological problems, infidelity, inter-racial relationship, lying, cheating, conniving, murder, hyper-sexuality, lust, and stealing. And the truth of the matter is that the Black community absolutely, irrefutably loves it; they seemingly can not get enough of it. Making matters worse is the fact that a ‘who’s who’ of Black Hollywood has lined up for an opportunity to make an appearance on the show: Mary J. Blige, Naomi Campbell, and Oprah Winfrey; to name a few.
So having settled in on the fact that this will be an extremely unorthodox day for me, as noted above, I never thought that I would mention MC Breed in today’s blog post; I also never imagined that I would side with brother Terrence Howard on this matter. After a little reflection, I now believe that hell yeah he should be able to use the N-Word in the show to bring more authenticity to the show. Now I am certain that many of you are offended that I would side with Terrence Howard on this matter, however, I think that the best art is a seamless reflection of life and there ‘Ain’t No Future in Yo Frontin.’ Although it is difficult for many to admit this in public, Black folk routinely use the N-Word in their daily conversation.
Although many African-Americans abandon its usage while in the public arena as a sign of decorum. I wish that such individuals would abandon the façade and publicly admit that they love watching reality TV, using the N-Word, and could care less about what others, particularly ‘conscious Black people’ think about them. It is their life and they should damn well be allowed to live it in as niggardly a manner as they please. The truth is that for many within my community, behaving as a nigger is loads of fun and absolves them of any responsibility.
However, not everyone involved with Empire agrees with Terrence Howard’s desire to integrate the N-Word into the show. Now I have read, and laughed at, Taraji P. Henson’s statement regarding this matter, a morally feeble position that basically boils down to her fear that the use of this word may offend some people and therefore compromise the ratings that the show is currently pulling in. She is obviously not concerned with the use of the N-Word, a principled position that most could have at least respected, rather she is unwilling to risk the shows success by ‘pushing the envelope.’
I think that Taraji P. Henson, whom I think is a brilliant actress, is looking at this wrong. If Lee Daniels would allow Terrence Howard and other characters as well to use the N-Word, it would not only make Empire more authenticate, but also break ground by making the show the first truly interactive Black show ever produced.
It would be groundbreaking in that it would include the favored pet name of so many of its viewers. I can just see droves of Negroes rushing to view the show waiting for one of the characters to call them by their favored pet name, nigger. I am certain that they prefer such a moniker because only a nigger would sit glued to a television set to view the denigration of themselves, their people, and all of those that came before them for a global audience. On second thought I may be wrong regarding the pet name, maybe it is not Nigger, I think that stupid ass nigger is more appropriate.
James Thomas Jones III, Ph.D.
© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015.