Russell Simmons: Hip Hop Makes it Okay For White People to Say N-gga

Russell Simmons isn’t mad that Gwyneth Paltrow said N*gga on Twitter, so he thinks you shouldn’t be either.

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

When Gwyneth Paltrow got too comfortable and tweeted to the world that she was with her “n-ggas in paris,” controversy erupted in which the general public is left seeking to define whether or not it is ever appropriate for a white person to say such a word that stems from a nation’s deep hatred for African American people. Although it was clear that Gwyneth was simply referring to the name of Jay-Z and Kanye’s leading single on their Watch The Throne album, the shock of the star using the divisional word has not gone away.

What we do know about Gwyneth is that she is one of the best friends of one of the black community’s biggest stars, Beyonce Knowles. Paltrow is also known to have a deep love and appreciation for the Hip Hop culture, as she can recite lyrics to just about any NWA song when prompted to do so in interviews.

Her husband, Chris Martin, most likely shares the same sentiments, as he consistently reaches out to black music stars, and developed such respect for Jay-Z, that the two went on tour and made music together.

And it is for these reasons, Russell Simmons, has come forward with his support for Gwyneth Paltrow in such a controversial time for the Academy Award winning actress.

In a recent blog post, Russell makes the following points:

“A few months ago, I went to the Jay-Z charity concert at Carnegie Hall. It was pretty exciting to watch hip-hop’s biggest star play the world’s most prestigious venue. However, there was nothing more exciting than him donating 100 percent of the proceeds to charity, including my $25,000 donation.

The third song that came on during the show was “Ain’t No N*gga”… the song I signed Jay to Def Jam on. Everyone in the hall was singing every word to the song. Every white girl (and there were a lot of them) was singing it to their man…“Ain’t no n*gga like the one I got!” EVERYONE was singing every word of every song for the entire set, which ended with “N*ggas In Paris.” White, black – everyone was singing along.”

On his support of Gwyneth:

I have to throw my hand up and stand up for Gwyneth. I know her intentions were not to be offensive … she was just proud of her friend, Jay-Z. My words are in defense of her.

Why he supports Kanye and Jay-Z’s choice in title for the song:

And in the case of “N*ggas in Paris,” it is clear that these two poets are celebrating the fact that they now travel the world and are literally ballin’ in Paris … it started as a badge of honor, something to be proud of, something to poke their chests out at. Because for them, when they were kids, Paris was a million miles away and now it’s a private jet ride. The idea of being in Paris with a movie star, whether she’s black or white, is incredible!

And why Hip Hop has blurred the lines between who can say the N word and who can’t:

There is something truly inspiring about black culture and black music, hip-hop culture and hip-hop music. No matter what color skin you might have, there is an overriding good effect that this music has on you. It is contagious. It was this explosive expression that spread out of the inner cities of America into the walkmans of kids like Gwyneth Paltrow during their childhoods in 1980s and 1990s. It allowed white kids to begin to sympathize with the plight of many in black America. And these kids have overwhelmingly become progressive in their politics and their social concerns. Having any Hollywood starlet at your concert was unimaginable, and having her quote your lyrics as a badge of honor that she was hanging out with you, you never would have dreamed of that – until your poetry hit the market and changed the world.

So, for Gwyneth to tweet out her excitement about hip-hop taking over the planet is a good thing. She didn’t mean any harm, she just was trying to ball so hard, and like Jay-Z says, “motherf*ckers can’t fine” her.

I wonder what our ancestors would feel about our people making excuses for whites using the one racial slur they died for.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Interesting that he says out loud what all the white people have been thinking for some time now. Just don’t get mad when they actually call you a n-gga to your face though. Can’t have it both ways.

  2. Every time Russell blogs, I get disgusted. He stands for no real issues besides gay marriage. I really wish he would just sit down somewhere and be the little dirty white woman loving man he’s always been.

  3. This is how I feel. If black people can make millions of dollars on the word and say it to each other with no problem, what right do we have to tell white people they can’t do the same? It is a double standard and either we stop using the word or accept that other people can use it too. It doesn’t bother me and I think it’s time for us to move on to more important issues.

  4. This is a discussion we just need to stop having. Nothing is going to change, and black people today are very different than our forefathers. The only way to move on is to kill off the word. And n-ggas (yeah i said n-ggas) are too stupid to ever let that happen.

  5. I don’t look at n-gga as a black term or label anymore. I see white n-ggas all the time. There are ignorant and ridiculous people in every race, and I label them accordingly. I am not phased that some white actress called herself a n-gga. I’m glad she gets that white people aren’t spared in being stupid as well. My 2 cents.

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