Wednesday, December 21

Rihanna Called N-Word In Dutch Fashion Magazine 'Jackie'

A Dutch fashion magazine, Jackie, recently called Rihanna a "n***abitch" with a "ghetto ass" in an article describing her sense of style. Excerpt from the article below:

"She has street cred, she has a ghetto ass and she has a golden throat. Rihanna, the good girl gone bad, is the ultimate n***abitch and she displays that gladly--for her that means what's on can come off. If that means she'll be on stage half naked, then so be it. But Dutch winters aren't like Jamaican ones, so pick a clothing style in which your daughter can resist minus ten [temperatures]. No to the big sunglasses and the pornheels, and yes to the tiger print, pink 'shizzle,' and everything that glitters. Now let's hope she won't beat anybody up at daycare."

At first, the editor-in-chief, Eva Hoeke, took to Twitter and stated that the original intention for the choice of words was to be a 'joke' and apologized for potentially offending anyone. However, after realizing the error she tweeted: ‘1. Don’t publish bad jokes in the magazine 2. Don’t pretend bad jokes to be funny. Sorry guys. My bad.’

The backlash continued. Hoeke was harassed and threatened and by the end of the day she found it necessary to quit her job at Jackie after 8 long years.

This incident got me thinking about the state of North American popular culture. Step out of North America for a moment and take a look at what other countries see when they look at our culture. There are flashes of bitches and n***as littered all throughout our pop culture and we don't think twice about the effect it has on the rest of the world.

Is this a classic case of being lost in translation? Was the magazine being malicious? Should the Dutch have know better? Done their research? or were they reflecting what they see pouring out of North American media? Interested in hearing your thoughts. Let's start a discussion.



Article in Huffington Post:


Anonymous said...

On a personal level, I don't tolerate language like that and feel like "Jackie" was way out of line for publishing this.
At first I was appalled, and then I remembered the episode of Oprah where she interviews Ludacris and gives him A LOT of grief about using the "n" word in the majority of his songs. "your ancestors worked very hard to abolish this word and everything it stands, you should be ashamed of yourself!" She said (or something to that effect). And that got me thinking --it's true a lot of mainstream music has normalized the use of that word casually.
I'm not pointing any fingers or excusing anybody's behavior or actions, but perhaps it is the casual and frequent use of the word that signaled to "Jackie" that this was appropriate?
That being said, shame on "Jackie".

Ali Harris Saunders said...

It makes me sad to be deathly honest. Now, I don't believe this was a blatant act of racism- the editor did seem to be remorseful, I mean, the woman quit her job! But what disappoints me the most is the fact that she thought something like this was okay. And who do we have to blame? Our culture. WE are the ones supporting these artists who convey these images around the world. We allow them to represent ourselves. So if they feel to flash the n word around and dress provocatively, who are we to say anything if we keep buying albums and singing their songs and supporting their brand? Im sorry that this is the image that the Dutch see of us. They have nothing else to go on so they use what they know. Unfortunately it isn't much. If our artists in North America were more empowering, and aware then instead of using the term "n***** bitch" maybe they would have said "wonder role model", "positive image," etc. But again, our values are very different from theirs. Now I don't fully excuse the Dutch. The history behind that word is full of unimaginable pain. They should have known better. Even if our people don't, they should have taken some consideration. I think this is an opportunity for us to all grow. Life is too short to be biter. Laugh in the face of ignorance. Don't succumb to it.