Black Twitter shared a big laugh about a social media video that took both Youtube and Twitter by storm on Sept.19.
In the short 2 minute clip posted by Casey Lawrence who goes by the user name @LeanandCuisine, the funny internet comedian shares his take on how the first Black person might have begun using the N-word.
The video begins with two Black men casually chatting with one another. As the men greet a fellow Black constituent walking towards them, the passerby quickly responds back, “What’s Good N***a,” right before one of the men sitting pummels the offender in question.
“You don’t get to call me that Boy!” the offended character named “John,” says.
“You don’t think I don’t know what I am doing,” the man in the black trench coat barks back. “I’m doing this for us! Think about it? If we take back the word, it don’t harm us know more!”
“That’s the stupidest sh*t I ever heard, N***a”, John responds, right before he experiences a moment of realization and lifts the questionable character up to make amends.
“Yea. You feel that? Take it back, it’s your’s now, N***a” the 2nd man says right before he walks off.
The satire video, which has amassed more than 460,000 likes on Youtube and over 27,000 retweets on Twitter, had Black people on social media buckled over in laughter, not because it was offensive, but the clip foreshadows how the N-word has become so deeply ingrained in our culture today. What was once used by White supremacists as an ugly slur to gain power over Blacks for centuries, is now a term of endearment for many Black folks in the community. The N-word, when used with other Black friends or companions, can mean a number of different things. As Dave Sheinin and Krissah Thompson write in their article, “Redefining The Word” for The Washington Post, the N-word is often synonymous with the terms “bro” or “dude.” It’s a term that could be used when greeting a friend or simply saying “What’s up”… again, only between black people.
Fans poured into the comment section of the video laughing about the relatability of the clip.
“This is seriously the definition of comedy. Turning tragedy into comedy and it’s done perfectly,” one person commented on Youtube.
“This is perfection,” another Black Twitter user replied to the video.
Over the years there has been controversy over who is allowed to use the derogatory term and the answer, although obvious, isn’t so simple for some.
N-word debaters often say, hypothetically, White folks and other non-Black people could use the word, but “N***a” coming out the mouth of someone who isn’t Black would sting. Black people have collectively worked hard since slavery and the Jim Crow Era to reclaim the word in some aspects, “taking back power” and a sense of pride by using it with other folks in the community. When Non-Black people use the N-word, the act almost links back to its dark origins. There are also some serious cultural consequences, like being ridiculed by family or friends, or maybe even a big old punch to the face.
We know what you might ask next. What about the decades-long debate over the two versions of the word? You know, the one with the hard “er” and the version that ends with an “a”. That adds another layer of confusion to the discourse. The two words have very distinct meanings. One that links back to its racist lineage and one that’s representative of its powerful meaning today, but it’s a debate we’ll never come to a conclusion to because the word is here to stay for Black people and with Black people only.