Is it OK for a Korean to drop an N-Bomb?

Recently, Pinnacle TheHustler confronted Korean rapper Snacky Chan on the air about his use of the N-Word in his song “You Da Man”. Pinnacle is the co-host of the Night Vibe radio show on TBSeFM 101.3 alongside Elliott Ashby. I tune in most nights of the work week between 10pm – 12am.

You can watch the video of this conversation here:

Pinnacle starts the conversation providing a straight faced, brutal historical context of the N-Word, while Snacky Chan fidgets nervously in his chair with an awkward smile on his face.

To quote Pinnacle, “This word came out of slavery times where black people were raped and killed and lynched, hanged by trees. A lot of times when they would get hanged, many times the mob that hung them would cut their genitals off, and put their genitals in their mouth. It’s pretty graphic right? Out of that, came the use of the N-Word.” He goes on to say that while some people believe it’s not acceptable for anyone to use the word, there are others don’t really care. He concludes with, “generally, it’s a conversation that black people have.”

After that, the question that he throws at Chan is, “Why do you feel that it’s appropriate for you as an Asian, in an Asian culture, that has no historical or cultural connection, or understanding to the use of the N-Word, why do you feel it’s appropriate for you to use that word on that album?”

Chan’s response consists of:
“I don’t really think it’s appropriate.”
“I haven’t ever used the word before.”
“I’ve actually been told in 2001 by another emcee, who’s African American as well, you can’t do that.”
“I guess I really didn’t think deeply into the consequences.”
“I remember hearing songs from other Korean rappers in the past, and they would say the N-Word, and I didn’t like it.”
“In this particular case, I didn’t really put too much thought into it, that’s what I wanted to say.”
“And to be honest, I use that word in my daily life.”
“I guess there’s no real way to justify using that word, but I guess that’s my explanation.”

Oh man, that explanation was weak, right?

My interpretation of what Chan said:
You haven’t ever used the word, you don’t like the word, but you use it in your daily life? I don’t understand. A black emcee told you not to use it, and his warning stuck with you for 10 years, yet you used it anyway. Other Korean rappers have used it, so what’s the big deal? Because you didn’t think about it too much, it’s not that big of a deal. There’s no justification, basically, you just felt like it, it’s what you wanted to say.

Pinnacle’s response:
“OK cool, I was just wondering”, followed by a bunch of laughs and an introduction into their song.

Hold on, that’s it? After the graphic historical context you opened with and your known disdain for the use of the N-Word? We heard you criticize Common recently for his use of the word, and he’s black.

Here’s the tweet from @iampinnacle:
I hate @common’s use of the N-Word n #celebrate. YOU r the reason I have 2 educate Asians on y u SHOULDNT call a Blk man a nigga. Thx Common

Not sure exactly what I expected, but definitely something other than, “OK cool.” To me, that implies that you’re OK with the answer, and I have a hard time believing that.

Perhaps asking him to clear up the flip flopping in his answer. Gain some insight into why he used it when he admits he was previously told not to, even saying he didn’t like it. Clarify how he used the word admittedly without even thinking about the consequences. Ask if he plans on doing it again. I don’t know, something.

Regardless, good for Pinnacle and Night Vibe for bringing up a controversial issue. It’s a great show, I tune in regularly, you should as well. Not everyone is willing to take on an issue like that. I would hope when a situation like that presents itself in the future, there would be more of a follow up, more of a journalistic challenge, rather than, “OK cool.”


~ by ripcitytoseoul on December 16, 2011.

5 Responses to “Is it OK for a Korean to drop an N-Bomb?”

  1. Snacky Chan: I guess there’s no real way to justify using that word, but I guess that’s my explanation.

    Pinnacle: Oh, okay, that’s cool, (reaches underneath the table, pulls out a small bucket of water and a bar of soap) because we at the Night Vibe were just wondering, perhaps, if you would mind washing your mouth out with soap.

    Snacky Chan: Haha, yeah, haha.

    Pinnacle: (pushes the microphone away and leans over to Snacky C.) We’re serious, motherfucker.

  2. I bet the producer was waving his arms through the studio window signaling “We gotta go to a commercial now! Don’t take him apart!”

  3. Trust me the producer would have been waving their arms!

    And here’s the bottom line…the N-word begin used by anyone is tragic. Blacks and non blacks a like.

    If rappers want popularity…then include the N-word in their raps…of course everyone is going to copy it.

    You can’t say some can use it and some can’t! That’s absurd…and in a weird perverted way…racist in itself!!! (Telling one person they can’t do something because of their race…think about it!!)

    Mr Jones Aswell!

  4. Perhaps he was genuinely unaware of the history of the word, even though he was aware it was a racist term. Rappers bandy the N-word about so much these days that it seems normal, so he might have heard it in loads of songs and not realised just how offensive it is.

    I’ve also worked on the radio before in the UK and I would definitely say that the “Oh, cool” response was down to pressure from the station on the presenters to keep the show upbeat, never criticizing the songs they’re playing or artists they’re featuring.

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