Beautiful Rihanna is a "cookie-cutter teen queen" who transformed into the independent, outspoken, R&B, Dance-Pop performer we know today. The folks over at Jackie magazine think they understood all about the artist and ran an article "De Ni**abitch," informing readers how to dress like the "Loud" star without looking like the "ultimate ni**erbitch."
It didn't go unnoticed. In fact, it started a firestorm.
How did Eva Hoeke, the now former editor-in-chief, respond? She left this on Twitter:
"Two things we learned. 1: Don't publish bad jokes in the magazine 2: Don't pretend as if a bad joke is good. Sorry guys. My bad."
But Rihanna wasn't havin' it.
"@evajackie I hope u can read english, because your magazine is a poor representation of the evolution of human rights! I find you disrespectful, and rather desperate!! You ran out of legit, civilized information to print! There are 1000's of Dutch girls who would love to be recognized for their contributions to your country, you could have given them an article. Instead, u paid to print one degrading an entire race! That's your contribution to this world!" Rihanna tweeted. "To encourage segregation, to mislead the future leaders to act in the past! You put two words together, with the intent of abasement, that made no sense..."NI**A BITCH"?!....Well with all respect, on behalf of my race, here are my two words for you...F**K YOU!!!"
And that was enough to send Hoeke packing.
"I realize that my first reaction through Twitter, in which I indicated that it was a joke, has been an incomplete description of what me, and also the author of the article, meant. The term 'ni**abitch' came from America and we solely used it to describe a style of dress," said Hoeke, as reported at Parlor. "Through the course of events, me and the publisher have concluded that because my credibility is now affected, it is better for all parties if I quit my function as editor-in-chief effective immediately."
Was it a case of intent, or ignorance? There is more than one way the "N" word is used in America. The most common way is to humiliate. But people of color say it as well, such as Rihanna herself in this recent tweet.
"I just met the most racist cunt EVER!!! This man said the craziest shit abt black women called us dogs, sluts, we don't look like shit, we don't belong in the same hotels....needless to say, the #NI**A in me came out! Bajan accent and all!Lol!"
Some groups, such as hip-hop artists, have reclaimed the "N" word, taking away its original intention. Typically, the "er" at the end is changed to "a" or "ha."
But if black rappers and black hip-hop artists do it, is it wrong that Jackie magazine did it? Putting aside the fact that some believe the "N" word is not acceptable in any form, the "N" word, when used by rappers and such, is used as a form of camaraderie. If a rapper says the "N" word in his lyrics, his album will get slapped with a parental advisory warning, and that's about it. However, if it's used to demean, there's always severe backlash.
What Eva Hoeke failed to do is her homework. If she meant no harm, research on American usage of words would have told her to choose a different term.
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