Public Enemy’s Chuck D is often considered the man who first used hip-hop to push social change. With so much influence, when he and his crew released the single ‘Rebel Without A Pause’, madness instantly arrived. A politically arrested, racially charged song designed to empower the Black youth of America, it mobilised communities and was an instant classic.
Being a politically inclined rapper and individual, it is no surprise that earlier this year, the rapper (real name Carlton Ridenhour) confronted Elon Musk about the use of the N-word on Twitter. Debates surrounding the term have been ongoing for years, and it usually boils down to individuals themselves and how they perceive it.
Many would agree with Ridenhour and take the stance that its use in any scenario is wrong. However, many see it as a term of endearment. There is also mass confusion surrounding who can and cannot use the word. Some would suggest that you can use it if you are Black, Bi-racial or Latino, whereas others may say everyone can use it.
Calling on not only Musk to change his policy but also Mark Zuckerberg, the rapper tweeted, “Yo Elon Musk, the next thing Twitter should do is ban the N-Word the N**ga & ni**er by anyone that uses it here. Then we know things are pointing in a equalised direction. Then you can convince Zuck to do the same at IG FB get it outta here suspend em. It’s as bad as that symbol”
The rapper continued, writing: “It ain’t like kicking somebody’s tail in a fight,” he added. “It’s all words and images here .. keyboard sh*t … so I’m not talking about anywhere else except social media right now because it can be done .. there gonna be a lotta people backbroke over their ‘pet’ getting smashed on here.”
Ridenhour’s demands were sparked by Kanye West’s antisemitic tweets, which saw a clamp down on hate speech directed towards the Jewish community. However, Ridenhour wants more to be done about hate speech directed towards the Black community. The racial term is used so frequently in the African-American community one may ask if it is actually possible to reverse culture, but Public Enemy rebel Ridenhour is trying.
Below you can watch the New Old Heads podcast weigh in on the rapper’s call for a ban.