‘You’re Still a White Man’: Gary Owen’s Controversial Use of the N-Word Sparks Backlash from Fans

Comedian Gary Owen is getting the side eye from fans after getting real about his use of the N-word. But his reasoning may have backfired.

The comic recently wrapped a three-day series of shows at the Brockton Comedy Club in Oklahoma City, where he was unexpectedly asked to come clean about whether or not he has ever used the racial slur from an audience member.

“Dude, what the f—k just happened? First off … That question had nothing to do with my act,” said Owen while onstage. Instead of shying away from the topic, the “Think Like a Man” actor admitted that he does, in fact, say the N-word, but only under specific circumstances.

Gary Owen Hits Back at Critics Saying He's Trying Too Hard to Be Down With Black People (Photo: @garyowencomedy / X)
Gary Owen admits he raps the N-word when no one is around. (Photo: @garyowencomedy / X)

“I’ve never said it like with malicious intent. Never said it as a putdown,” he first explained. But then stated, “I listen to rap. You don’t think when I’m in the car by myself, I’m singing the f—k outta the song ‘they not like us,’” as the audience roared with laughter and handclaps.

“And I still look both ways before I say it. ‘What they really want from a’ … I’m bout to sing the f—k outta this song,” Owen added, referencing Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Not Like Us” and DMX’s “What These B—ches Want.”

Reactions from his fans on social media were mixed including critics who say the “Meet the Blacks” actor was out of line.

Two individuals joked, “This is who Michael Rappaport thinks he is” and “He been starring in black films since a baby and he loves his black women so it’s safe to say he be invited to all the BBQs.”

Still, a few people said that allowing exceptions, such as when reciting lyrics, was a slippery slope that would not end well. “Yeeeeeeaaaah keep laughing. and inviting them to the cookout. Sooner or later they will feel comfortable to say it in your face!” one wrote.

Two others said,” I’m a huge Gary fan … but no!” and “You’re still a white man.”

Owen was married to his ex-wife, Kenya Duke, who is Black, for 18 years when they divorced in 2021. His comedic career is littered with jokes about the controversial word that is sometimes accepted as a term of endearment within the Black community. In his “Doin What I Do” special, Owen said that he regularly heard Duke and their three children say the word but that he never casually uttered it as they did.

But the remark was among the minority, as countless others suggested the individual was being sensitive about Owen telling the truth, “Appreciate the honesty… Lol. Wish more of em would stop the CAP lol…”

Owen shared the same video on his YouTube, where more fans noted, “He auditioned for Django. OF COURSE, he’s said the word!”

During his viral “Club Shay Shay” interview, the 49-year-old explained that he had to say the word during his audition for Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 movie, where Jamie Foxx dropped over 100 N-word bombs.

“I never said the N-word so much in my life and the casting director was a Black lady. So I go in and I’m looking at the sides and it’s N-word, N-word, N-word. I’m like, ‘God, you gotta be kidding me.’ Owen later added, “I apologized afterwards.”

In a 2020 throwback clip from his stand-up routine, he joked that a woman called him the N-word during sex. He said, “I knew if I could make her forget I was white, I knew I was doing something OK.”

“You know, listen, Black people, I might be letting the cat out the bag, but when you ain’t around we say that s—t a lot,” Owen continued. “Black people you can take this and run with it, I don’t know you wanna make some money off it, I think instead of getting mad when white people say it and wanting to fight, I think Black people should make some money off it.”

He said that the slur should be patented and that white people be allowed to say it five times for $20.

Owen’s acceptance within the Black community has been a part of his comedic appeal throughout his career. He has been cast in Black-centered films such as “Think Like a Man” and TV shows. Even now, his affinity for melanated women still exists as he recently welcomed twin sons with his fiancée Brianna Johnson.

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