The discussion surrounding who should and shouldn’t use the N-word has been going on for decades. While most feel as though the use of the derogatory term should be left to the Black community’s discretion, gray areas emerge when a person of mixed race enters the chat.
Jhene Aiko seemingly found herself in a similar position, which prompted the songstress to stop using the term altogether, but not before tweeting a post that had many of her fans scratching their heads.
The 32 year old caused a bit of a disturbance on Twitter early Monday morning, on Dec 7, after posting a now-deleted tweet obtained by The Neighborhood Talk in which she wrote, “i am less black that someone half black, but also less white that someone half white… and asian is the least thing I am. Lol. So at this point, it’s whatever they want me to be.”
When asked for further explanation from a puzzled fan, the Grammy-nominated artist replied, “it means… I am whatever u say in am I saw the argument that other people are more black than me, because they are half and half, so im just saying… they are also more of the other race than me… so.”
Another user asked the “Summer 2020” singer if she stopped using the N-word because she felt as though she wasn’t Black enough, to which Jhene replied, “I stopped out of consideration to the people who were offended and who thought I was not in a position to say it.” She added, “I took heed. I wasn’t confused tho.” The backlash appeared to stem from the singer’s Ancestry DNA results, which revealed that she was 33 percent Asian, 33 percent white, and 33 percent Black.
Online users felt as though her Blackness was being questioned and came to the star’s defense, including one user who wrote, “she’s part black though at the end of the day…. so regardless being black in always part of her.” They added, “how y’all just gone tell somebody they ain’t black enough?”
Actress Keke Palmer even chimed in with a post on Twitter, praising Jhene’s response to critics. “I love what you said sis, @JheneAiko being mixed is an experience in its own right that we often dismiss trying to force people to identify as whatever makes sense to us.” She added, “You shouldn’t have to identify as anything other than what you are. Mixed up beautiful buttercup!”
Another user echoed that statement, writing, “I’m black and Puerto Rican, but was never enough of either.” They added, “It was frustrating. Then people would wonder why most of my friends were white or also mixed. Its annoying and ridiculous. I’m both. I’m allowed to be both.”