The New N Word: Acting like “Negus”

I promised Dave I’d never use the phrase “f$%k nigga”

He said “think about what you saying: ‘F$%k niggas'”

No better than Samuel on D’Jango

No better than a white man with slave boats

Sound like I needed some soul searching

My pops gave me some game in real person

Retrace my steps on what they never taught me

Did my home work fast before government caught me

So I’ma dedicate this one verse to Oprah

On how the infamous, sensitive N-word control us

So many artist gave her an explanation to hold us

Well this is my explanation straight from Ethiopia

N-E-G-U-S definition: royalty; King royalty – wait listen

N-E-G-U-S description: Black emperor, King, ruler, now let me finish

The history books overlooked the word and hide it

America tried to make it to a house divided

The homies don’t recognize we be using it wrong

So I’ma break it down and put my game in the song

N-E-G-U-S, say it with me

Or say no more. Black stars can come and get me

Take it from Oprah Winfrey, tell her she right on time

Kendrick Lamar, by far, realest Negus alive

-Kendrick Lamar

These lyrics are from the song “i” by Compton, California lyricist Kendrick Lamar. The song is featured on his critically acclaimed new album “To Pimp a Butterfly.” The album displayed prominent themes of black empowerment, black on black crime, the color line, class dynamics, and institutionalized racism. Additionally, Lamar did a superb job attempting to re-build the Black community’s self-esteem with his final verse in “i”, when he introduced the genuine, more appropriate “N word” for African Americans. This N word “Negus”, and it’s definition, is drastically different from the N-word  “nigger”,  or “nigga”, that is commonly used in American culture. The word “nigger” is universally understood to define African American’s as an indolent, idiotic, corrupt, and undependable group of people. While Kendric 1“Negus”, which is an Ethiopian term, as Kendrick Lamar so brilliantly orated, is the defined as being a king, a ruler, or someone of a royal descent. While, the new “N word” is a definite step in the right direction, the behavior of some of our people is behavior that is unquestionably not becoming of “Negus”.

While most African American’s conduct themselves with a sense of class, decorum and self-respect, unfortunately, there is a portion of those in the black community whose behavior is on the complete opposite Kendrick 3end of the spectrum. There are members of our community who behave in an uncouth, disgraceful, and inexcusable fashion. One need to look no further than reality television for an illustration of this type of action. On VH1 shows such as Basketball Wives and Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, and it is commonplace to see African American’s involved in the throes of intense verbal and physical altercations for frivolous reasons. Another example is the fact that there are a plethora of young African American men wasting their valuable lives selling drugs instead of going to school. While there are others who have fathered several children that have chosen to forgo their parental responsibilities. Then there are other members of the black community who refuse to work, but instead choose to vegetate in front of a TV four hours on end. Real “Negus” definitely do not behave in this manner.

In the end, I am of the opinion if that if we as African Americans are going to adopt the new N-word, “Negus”, we must unequivocally act the part. It’s time that we treat each other with more respect, and not resort to violence at the drop of a hat. It’s Kendric 2time that we treat academics with the importance it deserves, and refrain from trying to do as little as possible. It’s time for us to cease selling drugs to our brothers and sisters, because it does nothing but destroy our communities at its very core. It is time for some of us get off of our mother’s couch, get a job and make something of the life god blessed us with. It is time for some black males to start behaving responsibly when it concerns taking care of the offspring they fathered. Because that is what real “Negus” do.

Alexander Goodwin

Contributor, Manhood, Race and Culture

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015

3 thoughts on “The New N Word: Acting like “Negus””

  1. I also with Christine. Although I am very grateful of Kendrick Lamar’s brief, much needed, history lesson and definition of who we are as African Americans and where we come from I do not believe that adopting this word will inflict a change in the behavior of African Americans. For starters, there are already many of African Americans who do know and understand their roots and conduct themselves in ways that do reflect the standards of what “real Negus” are. Although I do not believe that adopting the word will necessarily bring a drastic change in behavior, I do think that the proper use of the word “negus” when used in its correct context can shed a positive light on African Americans; however it will be frustrating having to constantly differentiate between the words “negus” and “niggas” since the two sound similar when spoken aloud. I truly appreciate Kendrick Lamar and rappers like him who promote black empowerment in their music and work to enlighten our community. We need more positive figures spreading messages like this to our people in order for a real change to happen.

  2. Although I agree with your call to actions throughout this article. I do not believe that African-Americans adopting this new name will afflict change. It appears as though by adopting this new name African-Americans will find themselves further explaining and differentiating to others what the word “Nigger” and “Negus” means further prolonging the feeling of being “misunderstood” and “angry” that black youth experience today. Although I respect and appreciate Kendrick Lamar’s elaborate explanation, the term Negus from what you described is something that should not need to said. The attributes and characteristics that are associated with the word is something that not only African-Americans but people in general so aspire to.

    1. I agree with Christine. Adopting this new name will not inflict change. There is no way in hell that every nigga can become a negus. There will always be some sort of separation. In life there will always be the lazy, the working, and the successful. All people yet all on different levels. There will always be black people but there will always be the separation between those who fit the stereotype and those who don’t. The other day I was watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s video titled: “The danger of a single story”. She went on to explain that we as a people..meaning everyone, not just blacks should be able to look beyond stereotypes. When African-Americans are so used to being told by society, by surrounding communities, by education, and throughout the workforce that we are not equivalent we tend to begin to believe it. We are stuck in this hypnosis and for the few outliers who aren’t we find ourselves constantly trying to free our brothers and sisters who are. We need to realize that NIGGA and NEGUS are just words. Talking won’t get us the respect we want but our actions will.

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