Leave Gwyneth Paltrow alone, y’all. She’s been set up. The actress -- who is a rock star by association thanks to her hubs, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, and bestie and uber diva Beyonce -- got caught up in the coincidentiality (yep, I made that word up) of going to see Jay-Z and Kanye West perform in France’s capital city.
And, well, because they have a song called “Niggas in Paris” and they were live in Paris, she couldn’t resist broadcasting the irony. So she innocently tweeted “Ni**as in paris for real” to just under a million followers and used it as a caption for a grainy picture taken of her dancing on stage with Jay and his fellow artist The Dream.
Now, when she says ni**as, I’m sure she’s not including herself. She may have a pass to use the word, but I’m pretty sure even she knows that folding herself into that reference would just be downright silly, what with her blonde hair and porcelain skin and all.
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A black pass, in case you don’t know -- or in case you want to run out and earn one -- is issued to someone who spends an exorbitant amount of time immersed in the habits, ways, lingo, and many subcultures of black people. When you hang out, which Gwyneth frequently does, you get comfortable with flexing the breadth of knowledge you pick up about African Americana.
Black passes aren’t available in stores (sorry!) but they must be earned by being on the frontlines of vested friendships and amorous relationships. And, judging by her level of comfort, Gwyneth’s is well-worn. Look, Spike Lee even took a picture with her. It don’t get no blacker than that!
Back to this tweeting business and whether she should’ve used the N-word or should not have used the N-word, even with the little asterisks she employed to replace the telling g’s: at the end of all the brouhaha, it’s the title of a song that Jay and Kanye evidently agreed on. So Gwyneth ain’t the only person throwing that word around. It’s on the album’s list of songs. It’s in the liner notes. And even though it’s edited in some places, e’rybody knows what it’s supposed to be. So blame that on Jay and Kanye, not Gwyneth.
Should she have referred to them as ni**as (or, let’s just put it out there, niggas) in Paris or Belgium or London or Cincinnati? Mmm, probably not. She used the word, even though she was referring to the song. But she was caught up in the moment. But, just to show she’s really down, she used the version that ends in “a” instead of “er.” You know, like all the rappers and black folks who use that nasty word do.
At any rate, the woman only has 158 tweets, so this debacle and its backlash has probably scared her off of Twitter indefinitely.
Is it OK for white people who hang out with people of different races to pick up their slang and use culture-specific phrases?
Image via yausser/Flickr