Ice Cube gave Bill Maher a really important lesson on racism and the n-word
After years of being on the air and becoming known for his controversial thoughts, Bill Maher completely crossed the line last week when he dropped the n-word on his Real Time TV show. Maher quickly apologized after facing heavy backlash from the public, with some people even demanding that HBO fire him (though the network didn’t). And this week, rapper Ice Cube dropped by to “school” Maher on racism and the n-word.
During a live taping of Bill Maher’s show on June 9th, Maher referred to himself as a “house n—er” while interviewing Republican Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska.
Maher apologized to Ice Cube, who accepted the apology, but then gave his own thoughts on the matter. Said Cube,
"I accept your apology, but I still think we need to get to the root of the psyche, because I think there are a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they a little too familiar…guys who had a black girlfriend or two that made them some Kool-Aid now and then think they can cross the line, and they can't."
Ice Cube added that the slur is “like a knife. You can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool. It’s been used as a weapon against us by white people, and we’re not gonna let that happen again by nobody, because it’s not cool. It’s in the lexicon, everybody talk it, but it’s our word now. You can’t have it back.”
“When I hear my homies say it, it don’t feel like venom,” the rapper continued. “When I hear a white person say it, it feels like that knife stabbing me, even if they don’t mean it.”
Ice Cube has never shied away from discussing political issues, going all the way back to his days with N.W.A. The rapper and actor appeared on Maher’s show to promote a special edition re-release of his Death Certificate album on its 25th anniversary, but obviously couldn’t pass up the opportunity to address the elephant in the room.
Also on the panel was Symone Sanders, former press secretary to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who shared some valuable gems about Maher’s transgression. She said she agrees with all that Cube stated, but went on to address the importance of context and the effects of the n-word on Black women.
“It’s about the context in which the joke was made. We know you apologized, but essentially by referring to yourself as a 'house anything' was to white-wash who was really in the house. As a white person in America, you would have been the master, the slave owner, not someone enslaved in a house. It was mostly Black women who were enslaved in the house, who were raped and endured physical and mental abuse. So, for Black America, that was a slap in the face. Particularly to Black women.