Culture

Cardi B Reminds Us That Latinos Have A Complicated Relationship To The N-Word

For those who have been hiding under a rock over the past few months, Bronx native and proud Dominicana, Cardi B, has taken the world by storm with her hit single, “Bodak Yellow.”

We’ve all heard the song at this point (even our moms and tias) and as a result, it’s reached the number two spot on the Billboard music charts. Why do we love it so much? Because it celebrates an unapologetic brand of feminism, the hustling mentality that many of us were raised on, and it reminds us that stunting on your haters is sometimes the only way they’ll ever get the point.

But while Cardi B continues to compile accolades and rep her Dominican and Trinidadian heritage, some internet blogs have recently questioned her for responses related to a question about using the N-word in a recent interview with DJ Vlad for VLAD TV.

Credit: Cardi B/Instagram

What does the N-word have to do with Latinos you might ask? The short answer: A lot.

If you live on the East Coast, then you’re probably aware that Latinos can be of African descent. From the Caribbean to South America, Afro-Latinos of various nationalities have made their imprint on New York for centuries. But in cities like Los Angeles, there are far more Latinos of indigenous and mestizo descent than Afro-Latinos or Blaxicans (Black-Mexicans) like myself.

For some, Cardi’s use of the N-word comes with no surprise, especially for those who grew up using the word around African Americans and other people of African descent.

“And I’m quick, cut a n***** hustle, Don’t get comfortable,” she recites throughout “Bodak Yellow.”

“N***** hatin’ on me, really be upset,” she raps in another song, titled, “Red Barz.”

While the conversation around the word now involves Cardi B, she is, however, not the first Latina to be publicly questioned (read: dragged) for using the N-word in a song.

Jennifer Lopez (J.Lo) holds that title.

In 2001, J.Lo was publicly scrutinized for using the word on “I’m Real,” before rapper Ja Rule (everyone’s favorite summer-of-2001 rapper) came to her defense, claiming there was an “unwritten rule” that allows Puerto Ricans to say the word because African Americans and Puerto Ricans “are all kinda in the same family.”

Credit: Kevin Mazur, Getty.

Other prominent Latino artists like Latino rapper Fat Joe – whose racial background has been debated in the past – has consistently used (and defended) the word throughout his career.

Still, while J.Lo and Fat Joe may have defended themselves, there are a large majority of people in the U.S. who rightfully feel like the word has no place in Latino communities and outside of them.

So where does Cardi B fall under the complicated history of Latinos and the N-word? As a self-identified black woman of Caribbean descent and someone who has openly spoken about the racial discrimination that she has faced in her life, it almost seems like Cardi B has “rightfully” earned the right to use the word.

“… because at the end of the day, there are also Latinos (many of whom exist in our families) who use the N-word in social settings and are openly anti-black.”

But Cardi B’s response to DJ VLAD’s question revealed that she has her own hang ups about the word’s loaded history.

“It’s just something that like, is a lingo, like even I want to stop saying it,” she explained. “I really can’t stop saying it, I’m sorry.”

“It seems like something that is so normal, which is bad, but it is what it is,” she continued.

We’re introduced to her own racial background moments later when she claims that she and all Latinos come from diverse backgrounds.

Credit: Cardi B/Facebook

“My parents, my father’s side, we’re Spanish, were Hispanic, and everything. But it’s like where do them Spanish people come from? Where do them Latino people come from? They’re mixed people, we’re mixed with African, European… What is it? Mulatic?”

It’s safe to assume that Cardi B probably didn’t mean to say Mulatic. I’m guessing she was looking for the word Mulatto or Mestizo — both represent different forms of racial mixture, but we can never be too sure. Mulatic may, in fact, be the group of undiscovered people in the Caribbean that white scientists and anthropologists are dying to “discover” next.

But Cardi B was far from finished.

She concludes the interview by explaining that, according to white people, there is no difference between Latinos and African-Americans. “And at the end of the day,” she says, “like Latinos and Hispanics they are considered a minority, like you think white folks see Hispanic and Black people, like oh yeah they are Hispanic and they’re black, no, we are all considered the same to them.”

Cardi B raises an interesting point and something that some non-black Latinos who use the N-word have often alluded to: African-Americans and Latinos are both victims of racial discrimination, which makes it OK for Latinos to use the N-word.

(Another point often used by Latinos who use the N-word: African-Americans and Latinos often grow up in the same neighborhoods, listen to the same music, adopt the same fashion trends, which also makes it OK to use the word.)

We’ve all heard these arguments before. And while they may occasionally ring true, they can easily downward spiral because at the end of the day there are also Latinos (many of whom exist in our families) who use the N-word in social settings and are openly anti-black.

Credit: Facebook

Last year, the popular television show, “Black-ish,” created by Kenya Barris, took up the ongoing debate in an episode, titled, “The Word.” During one of the scenes, Curtis (Allen Maldonado) and Charlie (Deon Cole), used a dry erase board to stage an informative session at their workplace in hopes of educating their white coworkers about which Latino groups could and couldn’t use the n-word.

One of their white coworkers ask, “Mexicans can’t say the N-word, but Dominicans are OK?” To which Charlie explains, “Puerto Ricans are cool too unless you’re a J.Lo (Jennifer Lopez) Puerto Rican.”

Other people in this group, according to Charlie, include actress, Rosie Perez, deceased rapper, Big Pun, and Fat Joe. Marc Anthony and Ricky Martin, however, were, “no bueno,” and not allowed to say it under any circumstances.

“See basically the whole terror squad can say it, but not Menudo,” both men add.

While the scene was filled with comedic moments intended to diffuse such a loaded topic, it also raised an important point about the question of geography with regards to Latinos and the N-word.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Dmitry Rogozhin; CC0 Public Domain, George Hodan

Do Latinos on the west coast and east coast use the word in different ways? 

DJ Sour Milk, a Latino Los Angeles-based DJ and radio show host at POWER 106 FM, believes that there are differences between the West and East coast Latino’s relationship to the word.

“I think there’s always been tension between the Mexican and the Black community in L.A.,” he explained to me over the phone. “There were always race riots in my high school between blacks and Mexicans.”

“But the N-word was something that my African American friends and I often used as a term of endearment and love even if black and brown people were beefing around us. I don’t think New York has all of that; I feel like it’s all love out there between African-Americans and Latinos,” he continued.

“Do Latinos on the west coast and east coast use the word in different ways? Should one group be allowed to have more access to it?”

DJ Sour Milk’s attempt to differentiate between Latinos on the east and west coast shows that there may be a regional difference with regards to the word. Particularly, if there are more Latinos of African descent on the east coast then there are on the west coast.

Perhaps the racial lines are often blurred between African-Americans and Latinos on the east coast in a way that they are not on the west coast where, in contrast, there are less Afro-Latinos according to the censusStill, a continued examination of the word’s existence in the Latino community will certainly prompt differing views, but what will also continue to transpire is the reality that African-American and Latino experiences are undeniably woven by a thread that, as our current political and racial climate shows, has the potential to create bridges.

That said, Latinos of non-African descent must also acknowledge that before these threads can be woven, the anti-black sentiments that are deeply ingrained in our communities must be addressed, while simultaneously realizing that being part of a discriminated group doesn’t exempt one from confronting their own racial prejudices.

The differing viewpoints that continue to revolve around the word reveal another glaring detail: Cardi B shows us that the Latino relationship to the N-word is part of the unresolved legacy of racism and mistreatment of people of African descent both in the U.S. and throughout Latin America.

Should Latinos be allowed to use the word? The debate will continue long after you finish reading this story. But if you’re a Latino who continues to use it, you should also remind yourself that for people of African descent in this country, the word means more than just a term of endearment amongst friends. It can also be a vivid (and sometimes haunting) reminder that being black in this country means that you are part of a group that continues to be disprorportionately impacted by the unrelenting legacy of white supremacy and police killings. 

READ: 9 Things That Happened While I Dated Outside My Race

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The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Playing In The World Series And People Are Excited

Entertainment

The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Playing In The World Series And People Are Excited

Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The World Series is still happening despite Covid because baseball just can’t be held down. The Dodgers are playing their first World Series game today and fans are so excited to finally get some more baseball in their lives.

The World Series is here and Los Dodgers are playing their first game.

Baseball is America’s pastime and few teams have a fanbase as energized as The Dodgers. Ask any Dodgers fans about how difficult it is to get to the stadium and their commitment to the team is clear. It is not anywhere accessible by public transportation so you really have to want it.

People are super energized to celebrate and support their team.

The Dodgers made it to the championship game against the Houston Astros in 2017. The Dodgers lost to the Astros that year but three years later the Astros had the title stripped because of a cheating scandal. Now, The Dodgers have a chance to make win a title and Dodgers fans are excited to see it happen.

Even the furry fans are getting excited about the games.

It’s a fact that if a team has furry fans then they have the best fanbase. Who doesn’t want to end up at a stadium or party with these cute fluffers walking around in their Dodgers’ gear? These four-legged fans are better than child fans because they are going to get everyone’s spirits up.

The team has a lot of big names behind them cheering them on.

Los Angeles is home to some of the top celebrities and athletes. It must be nice to know that some of the most influential people are out there pushing for you to make it all the way. Bonus points if they are other athletes who know just how exciting and hard it is to compete at the elite level.

Let’s go, Dodgers!

The Dodgers play the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at 5:11 PST. Be sure to tune in and cheer for your favorite baseball team as they try for the championship again.

READ: From Serving Tacos To Being Signed With The LA Dodgers, Here’s What We Know Of The LA Dodger’s Pitcher

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Netflix Finally Gave Us The Release Date For “Selena: The Series” And Fans Can’t Wait

Entertainment

Netflix Finally Gave Us The Release Date For “Selena: The Series” And Fans Can’t Wait

contodonetflix / Twitter

One of the most popular and cathartic things to do in the time of Covid is to binge watch shows on streaming platforms. Why drag something out when you can watch an entire season in a day? Well, Selena fans now have one more thing to binge after Netflix announced the release date for “Selena: The Series.”

The world will forever change after Dec. 4.

Netflix is finally releasing the highly anticipated show “Selena: The Series” and we are so stoked to finally see it. The show has been on the radar of Selena fans everywhere since it was announced in 2018. We have all patiently waited for two years to finally see this show.

This is not a drill. This is not a prank. This is a gift from the entertainment deities who want to make sure that we all have something to make these hard times better. All you need is access to a Netflix account, doesn’t matter whose, and the enduring love for Selena that most of us have.

People are marking their calendars for a big day in entertainment.

That’s right. Netflix is releasing “Selena: The Series” and Disney+ is releasing “Mulan” for Disney+ subscribers at no extra charge after trying to rent it for $30 through the app. Dec. 4 is gearing up to be one of the most exciting days for people who just don’t want to leave the house during the current Covid pandemic. What a time to be a live, huh?

Netflix knows exactly what they are doing by releasing this show.

This show is approved by the Quintanilla family so there is that. This show was announced at the same time that Telemundo announced that the Spanish-language network was releasing their own series “El Secreto De Selena.”

The Telemundo show was based on the book written by journalist María Celeste Arrarás. The family has vehemently denied the accusations made in the book multiple times and Telemundo’s decision to make the series, which aired in 2018, angered viewers.

We have been promised a story about Selena that we have not seen in the past.

The Netflix series will not be rehashing what we have already seen. We know the story of Selena’s musical rise and tragic death thanks to “Selena” with J.Lo.

“Selena: The Series” is going to be showing us the life of a young Selena before the fame and musical career. It is truly amazing that after all of these years, there are still new stories to be told about Selena and her important place in American Latino history.

“Before she became the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena Quintanilla was a young girl from Texas with big dreams and an even bigger voice,” reads the description of the show. “The two-part coming-of-age drama ‘Selena: The Series’ explores the once-in-a-generation performer’s journey as a young artist, from singing small gigs in Corpus Christi with her family to becoming one of the most successful Latin artists of all time — and the years of grit and sacrifice the Quintanilla family navigated together before Selena’s meteoric rise to fame.”

So, mark your calendars and gather your loved ones.

This day should be a holiday as we all know that Selena is one of the greatest unifiers in the Latino community. We still sing her songs to this day and her legacy is being passed down to younger Latinos. Selena gave us representations before we knew we wanted and needed it.

It’s like we can already hear those old-school Selena y Los Dinos songs playing in our heads. Dec. 4 can’t get here fast enough and that’s a fact.

READ: Chris Perez Says He’s In the Dark When It Comes To Netflix’s ‘Selena: The Series’

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