NegusWhoRead
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Rza, The “New Nigga,” and Why We Need NegusWhoRead

We lost another one.

It seems like every other week we discover one of our supposed comrades has defected to the other side and joined the growing army of nouveau-riche elites who managed to raise themselves out of the depths of their blackness and above any plight associated with race.

I call them “New Niggas.”

I’d love to take credit for coining the phrase, but I adopted and adapted it from one of the founders of the neophyte New Nigga movement — hitmaker Pharell Williams  — who said, “The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation; it’s a mentality. And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on.”

Thus ushering in the new fraternity of cool black dudes  wearing skinny jeans and continually twisting themselves to land on the side of white benevolence. After inducting in members such as Stephen A Smith, Don Lemon and first ballot New-Nigga-Hall-of-Famer Raven Symone, stars like Taye Diggs, Michael B Jordan and Common rushed to shirk off their blackness and adopt the philosophy of the post-racial celebrity no longer bound to oppression by the darkness of their skin.

But the Rza? 

C’mon Son.

In case you haven’t heard, last week the Wu-Tang producer and musical prodigy sat down with Bloomberg Press for an in-depth interview covering a wide range of political topics. I won’t paraphrase what he said. Instead, I will just list a few of the quotes here:

Of course Black Lives Matter. All lives matter. I stopped eating meat because their lives matter to me.” 

“When you think about some of the brothers who are being brutalized by the police, you also got to have them take a look, and us take a look, in the mirror, at the image we portray.”

“If I’m a cop and every time I see a young black youth, whether I watch them on TV, movies, or just see them hanging out, and they’re not looking properly dressed, properly refined, you know, carrying himself, conducting himself proper hours of the day — things that a man does, you’re going to have a certain fear and stereotype of them.”

“I tell my sons, I say, if you’re going somewhere, you don’t have to wear a hoodie – we live in New York, so a hoodie and all that is all good. But sometimes, you know, button up your shirt. Clean up. Look like a young man. You’re not a little kid, you know what I mean? I think that’s another big issue we gotta pay attention to. Is the image that we portray that could invoke a fear into a white officer, or any officer.”

The phrase “victim shaming” is a trendy term popular in the groupthink culture of political correctness. It stems from the idea that some people will subtly lay the blame for an offense on the hurt or abused party. Women should be able to wear whatever they want to wear without fear of being raped. Anyone who blames an assault on the length of a woman’s skirt, or what time she visits a man’s hotel room, is an idiot and out of bounds. The concept of victim shaming has become so mainstream that no one even would even think of making those kinds of associations any more.

Except when it comes to Black people.

Somehow we have been led to believe that systematic oppression is partly the fault of Black people, and no one has bought into that shit more lock, stock and barrel than the New Nigga. New Niggas respond to claims of discrimination by contorting themselves to absolve those accused of racism as a “misunderstanding,” or more often — the fault of Black people. Like when Common said, “If we’ve been bullied, we’ve been beat down and we don’t want it anymore. We are not extending a fist and we are not saying, ‘You did us wrong.’ It’s more like, ‘Hey, I’m extending my hand in love.’”

So, what is the cause of systematic oppression according to the New Nigga philosophy?

Blackness, of course.

Never mind the fact that all names are made up — the difference between Raven Symone’s “Watermelondrea” and the name “Brittany” is that one is too Black. Taye Diggs is adamant that his son be referred to as “biracial” or “mixed” because… well… you know. Even Rza is effectively telling his kids not to dress too niggerish. Somehow hoodies have become a symbol of ghetto and not just a sweatshirt with a hat.

The New Nigga philosophy is that there are some things that are too Black. You don’t get to decide what those things are, and if you do them — whatever happens is your fault.

Like giving your child a Black name if you want them to be employed.

Like wearing a hoodie when it’s raining and you want to snack on Skittles.
Like carrying  a BB gun in Walmart or a city park.
Like demanding to know why you have to put out your cigarette when being pulled over forgetting to signal a lane change.

New Niggas say the solution is to forgive, forget, dress better and come up with whiter names. New niggas say your blouse was cut too low, and why were you at his house wearing their short skirt? You should know better.

Which brings us to NegusWhoRead.

There needs to be a place to call things what they are without having to look over your shoulder for white approval or New Nigga respectability. Your Blackness is no more a handicap or misdemeanor than clapping off beat or liking unseasoned grilled chicken breasts. You can eat kiwi or watermelon here. You can discuss Cardi B or Khaleesi here.

NegusWhoRead will be a space that is smart, sometimes funny, but unapologetically Black. A place where academics and the Black intelligencia can unchain themselves. Where intellectuals, creatives and regular people can get consumable, interesting content that doesn’t point it’s pinky when it drinks coffee or isn’t afraid to say “nigga” if it fits.

Welcome to unfiltered Blackness.

And just like the Wu Tang Clan…

NegusWhoRead ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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  • Legendary Sonny G

    Great Read. I have a counter point essay coming though.

  • wait Michael B Jordan?Q!?!? and Common? We lost them too? Dang.

  • wait Michael B Jordan?Q!?!? and Common? We lost them too? Dang.