by C5Damani (old head of the movement)
“How refreshing to consume words that have meaning and depth. In the great and honored tradition of wisdom literature and if there is anything that could be called instant wisdom, ‘nigga notes & quotes’ fills that void. This book may be the finest book of quotes, anecdotes, sayings and sage bromides any people struggling for human dignity and liberation will ever read.”Tanomar Akili Muumba
Black Poet Activist (Rest in Power)
when describing “nigga notes & quotes”*
– day nine –
With so much drama in the U.B.C. (Universal Black Community) around the use of the word “nigga”, I feel obligated to state un-apologetically why I use the word, why I used nigga in the title of my quote book compilation and the reasons for such usage. I know that some, more like many, will object to its use and see no valid rationale for the inclusion of this word in our Black vernacular. I also know that it’s use carries a piercing thunderclap of sonic vibrations felt far and wide when employed in polite society… read white dominant society…. by Black folks. Ask Penny Toler what those vibrations meant when it was reported that she used the word to chastise and motivate her WNBA Los Angeles Sparks players.
(Side Note: White people should never use the word nigger or nigga. Period.)
Penny Toler was the GM of the Los Angeles Sparks and a foundational figure in the WNBA’s growth and popularity. She guided the Sparks from her executive suite to perennial playoff appearances. But none of that mattered when it leaked that during an expletive filled post game tirade, which including “motherfucka” and other such cuss words, she used the word nigga. She said she did not direct it at any of her players personally but acknowledged she did use it.
Penny Toler is Black, speaking to mostly Black players, (should that matter in looking at this situation?) dropped the nigga-bomb several times in blasting the weak effort of her Sparks players after a bad loss to the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA playoffs. Solely because of the use of the word nigga in her tirade, she was relieved of her duties.
Why “nigga” notes & quotes?
“…for Black people to effectively cope with the stigma attached to words and concepts used to describe us negatively (such as NIGGER), we need to recognize that individuals that carry such stigma, must not only learn how to cope with the stigma themselves, but also how to help others around them cope. The avenues open for this dual responsibility are neither clear nor smooth. The concept of self, in which a recognition of stigma must be encapsulated, evolves through stages of self-disgust, despair, resignation, acceptance, and if the individual is particularly fortunate, achievement that neutralizes the stigma completely so that it becomes not irrelevant but rather a source of inner strength because of the odds that have been overcome.”Dia Damani
(adapted for my purposes from Barbara Sizemore… I think!?)
Why does the word nigga cause so much angst and consternation in our American experiment. Yes, nigger as a term, was used as the most dehumanizing, humiliating, disrespectful and degrading utterance in the history of our country. Its origins in the antebellum slave south during the height of chattel slavery of Africans are not taken lightly by me or any other Black folks who use the term nigga. The use of the word nigga then and since the late seventies has become controversial to say the least. I am not denying or running away from that controversy or minimizing why some are justified in their strict abstinence of using the word. I am cool with that… I don’t begrudge Black folks who reach this conclusion. I believe differently that is all.
I believe, as my adapted quote above states, that Black folks are a powerful people, the most resilient people on the planet. As the first people of the earth, we carry with us an inexhaustible reserve of will power and fortitude to conquer, in the short term and long term, any obstacle set against us. We built civilizations that still exist today. We withstood an onslaught of historic proportions on our humanity over millennia from whites, arabs, and others. We persisted. We are here. It is this strength that I stand when I think about my adapted quote above and thus my belief that we have taken that word from the oppressor and made it our own.
Truthfully, I believe that is part of why there is so much controversy around the word nigga. The oppressor, white America as a whole, is unable to use the word nigga freely and with impunity anymore and now it should not be said by anyone. I reject that reasoning. I use the word nigga in defiance of being prescribed how I should engage and interact. I use the word nigga in promotion of a people who have overcome. I use the word nigga as expression of freedom from oppression in mind, body, spirit and language. The word nigga has been reclaimed.
The transformation from the pejorative to the empowering has been completed in many, many Black folks psyche today. No longer do we see it as a debilitating, soul-crushing blow to our dignity and humanity when uttered. To the contrary, it has become an universally unique term of endearment. When “my nigga” is whispered, spoken or shouted between Black folks, it signifies the deepest of bonds and the most complex of connections only accessible to the ears of those who have conquered the insurmountable odds to audibly hear it’s melodic tone. Black comedian Larry Wilmore understood this when he used “my nigga” as a term of endearment when referring to President Barack Obama in concluding his speech at the 2016 White House Correspondents Dinner.
The Last Poets also understand the complex connections and deepest of bonds the word nigga (although they use the word nigger) carries as expressed in the last verse of their poem, “Niggers are Scared of Revolution” from their namesake spoken word album, The Last Poets…
Niggers are lovers, niggers are lovers are lovers
Niggers love to see Clark Gable make love to Marilyn Monroe
Niggers love to see Tarzan fuck all the natives
Niggers love to hear the Lone Ranger yell, “High ho, Silver!”
Niggers love commercials, niggers love commercials
Oh how niggers love commercials
“You can take niggers out of the country, but
You can’t take the country out of niggers”
Niggers are lovers, are lovers, are lovers
Niggers loved to hear Malcolm rap, but they didn’t love Malcolm
Niggers love everything but themselves
But I’m a lover too, yes I’m a lover too
I love niggers, I love niggers, I love niggers
Because niggers are me, and I should only love that which is me
I love to see niggers go through changes, love to see niggers act
Love to see niggers make them plays and shoot the shit
But there is one thing about niggers I do not love
Niggers are scared of revolution“Niggers are Scared of Revolution”
The Last Poets (album)
The Last Poets
*Since most of these quotes were collected prior to 1985 it means some of the authors of these quotes, I have simply forgotten… blame old age! (Ha) When the author is known, I will indicate it. When an author is not indicated, please forgive me and understand. Furthermore, this collection of quotes was first started as a personal endeavor never meant to be shared publicly thus the reason why some authors may not be indicated.