You would think that people would learn after incidents like the one that happened to couturier Ulyana Sergeenko and Russian editor Miroslava Duma—but, as they say: another day, another racial slur gone viral.
Late on Sunday evening, rapper Kendrick Lamar performed at Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Throughout the performance, Lamar kindly invited different fans to get on stage and rap some of his popular songs. Everything was going fine, until a girl named Delaney was invited on stage to sing the song “M.A.A.D. City,” which features a string of racial slurs throughout the entire track.
If an African American person had stepped on stage to rap the song, then the lyrics would not have been so controversial, however, Delaney is Caucasian (read: a white woman). When she started rapping, (I like to believe that) she forgot about that crucial ethnic difference and started to belt out the “N” word.
When she let the racial slur slip the first time, everyone let out a collective “OH NO,” according to one Twitter user who detailed the entire spectacle on a now-viral thread. It didn’t stop there, though. Delaney continued rapping the song in its entirety.
“Hey, hey, hey,” said Kendrick Lamar, trying to get her attention, “You got one word that you have to censor.”
“Oh did I say it? I am so so sorry,” responded a seemingly confused Delaney, who then asked for a do-over (bad idea).
At this point, tensions were high. People were visibly and audibly angry at Delaney’s rendition of “M.A.A.D. City,” and for valid reasons—racism is still rampant in America, despite all of the marches, the activism, and the countless black lives that have been taken.
Racism at large is impossible to extinguish, however, the public’s tolerance for these blatant acts is running out. Nowhere was that truth more evident than at Kendrick Lamar’s concert last night, where audience members unanimously boo’ed and admonished Delaney off the stage.
Granted, the Kendrick concert probably drew a crowd that is more progressive in its racial views (hell, Delaney probably doesn’t even consider herself racist, for that matter), but the climate has shifted. While similar issues may have been brushed under the rug 10 years ago or just labeled “awkward,” people are not letting her live this one down.
On Twitter alone, hundreds, if not thousands, have ripped Delaney apart for her “caucasity,” or caucasian audacity for the uninitiated.
The performance sparked a debate between a white fan who argued that any song lyric should be fair game, and a black fan who quickly points out the many reasons why that single racial slur is absolutely off limits to Caucasian fans.
The word Nigga or "Nigger" was the last word black people heard before getting killed. We took the word and made it positive. So if you're not black. DONT USE IT! No it's. Or buts about it. NO DISCUSSION! TY! ☺️
— Kelli J (@iamkellij) May 21, 2018
Many people who side with Emily might think she makes a valid point, but there are deep wounds associated with that word that will never just go away. There is no entitlement to be had by white people who use that word in spite, or even ironically. Even if Delaney’s excitement caused her to black out (no pun intended) on stage and forgot all of this, it’s still unacceptable.
Luckily, there are brave agitators rallying against this engrained narrative and sense of entitlement every day. Luckily, we have Nobel Prize-winning, African American artists like Kendrick Lamar who fall to the ground laughing when they hear a white person co-opt this loaded racial slur. And perhaps more luckily, this “woke” generation of millennials is prioritizing humanity above all else.