don imus and queen latifah


Don Imus got fired by CBS for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy=headed hos", culminating a week of interminable, relentless news coverage with people from Snoop Dogg to Oprah weighing in. I don't think he should have been fired, but my apathy outweighs my outrage by about a factor of ten. I don't listen to Imus, don't know anyone who does, and generally don't understand why anyone listens to talk radio. So I'd like to discuss my experience with the word "hos".

Like most kids in the suburbs, I first encountered the word through the music of Dr. Dre. As a teenager, I made a lot of horribly clever puns about Santa Claus and gardening equipment, but I always knew "ho" was a derogatory term - at least until I heard Queen Latifah's "U.N.I.T.Y." If you're unfamiliar, the chorus includes the line:

You gotta let him know
You ain't a bitch or a ho

A message of empowerment, right? Unfortunately, I heard the lyrics as, "You ain't a bitch, you're a ho." It was confusing, but I tried to suss out Latifah's meaning. Maybe this song was about owning one's sexuality and freedom - the "ho" as liberated woman. I would have thought "bitch" had more positive connotations, but who was I to decide what word the Queen wanted to reclaim? I made a mental note: "Bitch" was a bad word, but "ho"? Not nearly as bad.

I don't remember when I was finally set straight, but I'm pretty sure I was singing along to the song when someone corrected me. Generally, being caught singing along to Queen Latifah is embarrassment enough, but the shattering of my semantic hierarchy of misogynistic rap lyrics was devastating. I'm glad I never saw Latifah on the street, since she might have punched me dead in my eye.

Imus got fired as much for "nappy-headed" as he was for the "hos" part. In the future, he'd do well to heed this advice from Latifah:

Instinct leads me to another flow
Everytime I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho
Trying to make a sister feel low
You know all of that gots to go
Now everybody knows there's exceptions to this rule
Now don't be getting mad, when we playing, it's cool

Only when we playing, Don.


Check your lyrics-Latifah's words are "You ain't a bitch OR a ho."

Thanks for the comment, but check your reading comprehension - the accurate lyric is right there, after the second paragraph. Don't try to make a brother feel low, Shanna.

February 2012
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29      

About This Site

Sean Keane on Tumblr

Sean Keane Comedy Dot Com
Short posts, better name-branding

Backup Blog

Friends and Associates

San Francisco Comedy

Fine Sporting Websites

Local Bands


Sean Keane's Internet Famousness

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on April 13, 2007 6:37 PM.

the eggs-traordinary easter of 2005 was the previous entry in this blog.

tv recommendation is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 5.04