SHIAVON’S JAWN: No Gina, you may not say the n-word


Robbie Pierce

Photo Illustration

Shiavon Chatman, Opinion Editor

A jawn. Pronounced jôn. Noun. A person, place, thing, or event that doesn’t need a specific name. An indescribable, but memorable entity.

I’m Shiavon and this is Shiavon’s Jawn. (If these two words don’t rhyme, then you’re saying my name wrong.)

Contains spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame” (Random, I know, but it’s been months)

I very rarely get obsessed about, or dare I say ‘stan,’ a celebrity. But when I do, I do it with passion and intensity. 

Gina “Fugees’ #1 Fan” Rodriguez has disappointed me more than Drake’s fourth album. (This is your daily reminder that “Views” was trash.)

I loved me some Gina Rodriguez. A couple years ago, I created a since-deleted Pinterest board of all my favorite Gina pictures, quotes and “Jane the Virgin” memes. I was well-invested. 

She was a Latina who was inspiring young girls, especially young Latinas, by giving them a role model to look up to and someone to be proud of because she looked like them, a true rarity on television. 

As the title character in “Jane the Virgin,” she listened to her grandma speak Spanish and she would respond in English, an everyday exchange a lot of bilingual households can relate to. She worked hard to dismantle stereotypes about brown women. 

Can you say queen

But then things got a little weird when Jennie Urman was no longer creating Jane’s personality-driven and beautifully constructed telenovela-esque storylines. 

A couple years ago, Gina held a beautiful gathering highlighting the hardworking Latinas in the acting biz. But she forgot one small detail – she didn’t include Afro-Latinas. 

It’s important to note that the Latinx community is extremely diverse. It’s comprised of so many different races, colors and nationalities. (Latinx is not a race, but I’m sure y’all knew that right? Just checking.)

I mean, Spain colonized Africa. Come on guys. 

So if you’re showcasing Latinas in the entertainment industry, they probably shouldn’t all pass the brown paper bag test. (Too soon?) 

Last year, Gina was being interviewed along with Yara Shahidi for their animated movie “Smallfoot.” 

The interviewer, entertainment journalist Blogxilla, congratulated Yara on being a role model to Black girls. Gina wasn’t having it. 

She interrupted a Black man praising a Black woman because she wasn’t included. 

If you’re wondering why that is bothering you and you’re not sure why and you don’t want to be too harsh, I’ll do it for you. 

That is anti-black as hell. 

Gina took to Twitter to say she loved “Black Panther” but wondered where the Hispanic superhero movies are.

Well, create one. I’d watch it. 

She was an executive producer on “Jane” and even directed three episodes, so I’m sure she has the chops to throw something together.

Don’t leech onto Black art and Black liberation when you want to get your point across. 

And if you’re going to be someone who just won’t let people be great, then you must keep the same “what about” energy for movies like “Crazy Rich Asians” (that wedding scene was phenomenal) or like  “Avengers: Endgame” (RIP Tony.) 

But the latest incident, and my personal favorite one, of the great rise and fall of Gina, is her rapping along to the Fugees and posting the video on her Instagram story. (She also barely knew the words, so double embarrassing.)

“Niggas give me hee-bee-gee-bees.” I mean, same. But no sis, you may never sit with us. 

That word is said once in that entire song and she had to post a 10-second video of just those lyrics? Classy. 

“Oh my god, Shiavon! She was just rapping a song.” 

Believe it or not, you may enjoy hip-hop without racial epithets. If you’re still skeptical, muva Jackie Aina demonstrates how: 

Story continues below tweet: 

“Fine! If we can’t say niggas, y’all can’t have taco Tuesdays.” (This is an actual tweet that I saw)

For five seconds, I’m going to pretend that is the same thing. 

Actually, no, I can’t. I tried to pretend to be stupid for a moment and failed. Sorry. 

But Gina did apologize. She apologized for offending this “community of color.”

The word she should have used: Black. Not people of color. Black people. 

If you’re going to say the n-word proudly with your whole chest, whether you’re rapping in a song or using it in conversation, your apology needs to include the specific community in which you stole from. Stop stealing from us. Stop copying us. 

Oh, and the wonderful cyberspace that is Black Twitter found an old video of Gina using that word. So I guess this wasn’t the first time she was using the n-word just because she loved Lauryn Hill and just HAD to say it. 

We are less than 100 days away from 2020 and I’m still having to remind you that you can’t say the n-word if you are not Black. 

I mean why would you even want to? I have no desire to use a slur against a marginalized community. And I don’t deserve a cookie or any kudos for that. 

Also, why don’t you transform your own slur gifted from white supremacy into a term of endearment to call your brothers and sisters? 

And if you don’t have one, then run along, colonizer. 

Black people are the blueprint, but stop copying us. Your hatred of us is showing. 

This is my weekly column where I’ll keep you updated on my straight-to-DVD life, my hip-hop snob opinions, being uncomfortable in this political climate and being a black woman in predominantly white spaces.