The Khalil Amani Reader

Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!

Nigga, Wigga… “Eschew Obfuscation, Espouse Elucidation!”

Nigga, Wigga… “Eschew Obfuscation, Espouse Elucidation!”

So I was on Twitter the other day twittering about my blog I did about gay rapper Verbal Science doing a video with T-Pain and Paul Wall and them. Earlier I had tweeted Paul Wall, trying to get a response from him—like do you know Verbal Science is gay and would you like to comment? Paul Wall responded in a message to me, “Who is that?” Hmmm?

(Houston rapper Paul Wall)

I sent him a message back explaining who Verbal Science is/was and where he could read my blog, which further explains the situation and where he can view Verbal Science’s interview at Outhiphop.com where he tells us that he is gay and the video where Paul Wall can be seen rapping, “Whatchu Sittin’ On?”

(Newly out gay rapper Verbal Science who cameos Paul Wall in his video)

So anyhoo—I’m on Twitter posting about it and I send a post to Julia Beverly, owner of Ozone Magazine. Julia Beverly is famous in hip-hop circles—especially in the South where her magazine highlights many Southern artists. I had the fortunate occasion to meet Julia Beverly. She was a very nice person and even took a picture with me. Julia Beverly has a background in photography. She’s from Orlando. Some have criticized her for “co-opting” hip-hop, because she happens to be white and comes from well-to-do upper-middleclass white America. Those of you who really follow hip-hop might remember a few years ago when Julia Beverly had beef with Ray Benzino, the owner of The Source magazine.

(Julia Beverly, owner of Ozone Magazine)

Hip-hop is for everybody! Nuff said!

After sending my initial tweet to Ms. Beverly, I followed up by telling her what Paul Wall said to me; “Who is that?” Then I tweeted, “Wanna know what the hip-hop world is most afraid of? Gay alliances!”

And then I went and put my foot in my mouth by tweeting to JB (Julia Beverly) in regards to Paul Wall not knowing who Verbal Science is or who he does videos with, ‘Like, wigga, you don't know who you do cameos with? The fuck?” JB tweeted me back—“you're on a mission to destroy homophobia but you're calling @paulwallbaby a ‘wigga’? Lil hypocritical don't u think?”

(Julia Beverly & khalil Amani @ Rick Ross Concert)

Ouch! Before I could respond, Odeisel, a writer with Planetill.com and Allhiphop.com chimed in and tweeted Julia Beverly, “Touché!” In other words, he felt she had checked me for my “wigga” remark. Of course I came back at Odeisel with “Really?” From there, Odeisel and I exchanged pleasantries about what I had written and how it “might” look hypocritical to be advocating for gays and then calling Paul Wall a “wigga.” I understood his point. I understood JB’s point but!

I explained to them that “nigga/wigga” are “terms of endearments” in hip-hop circles for many and that there is no comparison (however you wanna spin it!) with “nigger/faggot.” If you call someone a nigga or a wigga in the ‘hood, it’s all good. If you call someone a nigger or a faggot in the ‘hood, you might be picking your dental up off the ground. These are ‘hood rules, which I didn’t create.

I told them after all was said and done that this (our Twitter discussion) was an exercise in obfuscation—that is, semantics, confusing the subject material and not dealing with the argument. The saying is, “Eschew Obfuscation, Espouse Elucidation,” which translates as Avoid ambiguity, adopt clarity.” Instead of dealing with why Paul Wall denied knowing Verbal Science, the newly out gay rapper, Julia Beverly and Odeisel shifted the subject to “Why did you call Paul Wall ‘wigga’?” Their argument centered on the fact that since I’m on my “soapbox” against homophobia, why would I use a racist expression (in JB’s view) to refer to Paul Wall? Odeisel went on to say that people of my ilk (people preaching a righteous cause) are held to a “higher standard” because we do preach tolerance. And honestly, I do feel their argument 100%! Indeed, it is valid.

Their argument, however valid, is steeped in obfuscation! It is a scape-goating argument to say the least! Never once, did Julia Beverly or Odeisel inquire about the charge I leveled at Paul Wall. Calling him a “wigga” nullified anything I had to say! Can you imagine that? A black man and a white woman—both hip-hop heads—both reporters on hip-hop through magazines and Internet sites—both supposedly steeped in hip-hop culture—upset that the “Spiritual Advisor” for gay hip-hop referred to a white rapper as “wigga.” What’s more contradictory is that I’ve seen Julia Beverly use the word “nigga” on Twitter, so I know she’s not really offended at “wigga.” That was an excuse to show her contempt for what I represent! Gay rappers! She pulled the racial/morality card on my ass!

May I suggest that their real problem was not me calling Paul Wall a “wigga”—but rather the implication of having done a video with a gay rapper and the ramifications for mainstream hip-hop—the real source of their angst? May I suggest that they give less than two-shits about the word “wigga”—but were speaking out based on their own internalized homophobia? For Julia Beverly, Paul Wall is someone that she’s very familiar with (he’s been on the cover of her magazine), who, no doubt are friends, so I can further understand her defensive mechanism kicking in and trying to make me look like a hypocrite.

(Rapper Paul Wall on the cover of Julia Beverly's Ozone Magazine)

What did I learn from this exchange? That indeed! I’m held to a higher standard and must watch what I write, because people will view me as a hypocrite for using hip-hop vernacular (like wigga) when I’m supposed to be an advocate for inclusion, acceptance and tolerance. Even though their argument was clearly OBFUSCATION—issue confusion, I have to know that my words are far-reaching. But by the same token, people like Julia Beverly need to stop with the pseudo-arguing—nix the ambiguity and adopt some clarity—stop frontin’ like one word has your panties in a knot when the truth is you have some homophobia in your spirit that you don’t want to deal with. Stop obfuscating!

At-the-end-of-the-day, I’m glad to know that these quasi-famous hip-hop personalities know me and what I represent. I never once told Julia Beverly about my involvement with gay rappers. She knew that shit up front, which tells me that my message is being heard. Her EXACT words to me were “you're on a mission to destroy homophobia…” She is 100% right, but I never told her that! What can be extrapolated from her words is that she knows exactly who I am! They may never publicly associate with me. They may never comment on my blogs. But they know me, which means they know you!

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Comment by Khalil Amani on March 20, 2010 at 6:56pm
I understand where you're coming from. Moving to a different town, those people sound truly racist and saw you as lower-class and ID'd you as such. But in American/ghetto jargon, being a wigga is just a white dude with black sensibilities. It is not a diss or a racist name and Julia Beverly, being from America KNOWS THIS! And if she doesn't know this, then what the hell is she doing in hip-hop?

There is a scene from "Dave Chapelle Show" (don't know if ya'll get his show in the UK) where a old blind black man in the passenger seat drives up and calls three young hip-hop white guys Niggers. One white guy turns to the rest and says, "Did he just call us niggas? COOL!!!!!" They high-five at being identified with black culture! It was the coolest thing to them.

The point of this blog is about skirting the question with a false argument.
Comment by mister on March 20, 2010 at 3:33pm
P.S sorry about typos literally running out the door !x
Comment by mister on March 20, 2010 at 3:33pm
Great article, and as i am a HUGE Paul Wall fan (got all his albums) and have experienced the term 'Wigga' firest hand i gota throw my opinion at it.

The Short Story
I grew up in a pretty cool town as a kid, it was pretty mixed race and multi culturaled. It was a heavy mix of white, Caribbean black and Indian. So as a young kid i picked up loads from this. When i was 13 my mum (single parent fam) decided to move us into the countryside to get away because i was starting to get into all kinds of shit. When i got to this small ass village NO ONE liked me because of the clothes i was wearing and the slang that i was speaking, i wasn't a plumb in the mouth Brit...... My point here is i was called Wigga, Nigga Lover, Half Breed and all kindsa shit so personally i don't think that Wigga is a term of endearment it was used to upset etc.. So i feel her point, but stiull doent mean she cant answer the bloody question though !

Also, if i was to give advice (take it or dont) is to let Verbal Science get on a few more colabs and shit before we start pointing fingers because it's not to late for hate and once he's worked his way to the top and it all comes out in the proper open it will be to late !

I really wish i could make my point clearer but im sure you get what im saying

Peeeeace

Maker

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