Jay Brannan Sings the N-Word

by Guest Contributor Joanna Eng, originally published at DJ Jojo

Last week I went to the Jay Brannan show at the Highline Ballroom on 16th Street. It was a fun show, complete with great performances of “Housewife” and “Soda Shop” and Jay’s (mostly endearing) talking-too-much routine.

Toward the end of the show, Jay busted out with a cover of N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton.” (See the video and Logo’s glowing review here.) Although I was surprised to hear him say the “n-word” twice, unflinchingly, during the song, the cover was nicer than it could have been—it was actually quite a beautiful rendition, and it didn’t really even seem like he was making fun of the song or gangsta culture.

He could have left it at that, and I might not have thought too much about it.

But right after the song ended, he had already started defending himself. “Now, before you all email me to complain,” he started; and went on to explain that he was just covering a cover of the N.W.A. song by Nina Gordon. “If you don’t like the lyrics… I didn’t write them!”

Then he said something like, “Before you say that I’m making fun of black culture…. I think I know some black people who would take issue with you equating black culture to gang violence.” The audience clapped at this, but I was left uncomfortable. It’s an interesting point, but did he really just pull the “I have black friends” card?

I was also left wondering if Jay really would have felt comfortable doing that song if there were many (or any) black people in the audience.

All that aside, I did really enjoy the show. He did a very nice cover of my favorite Joni Mitchell song, “All I Want.” And he was decidedly cute and gay as usual. I think he should tour with Girlyman.

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health

OMLN

Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives

Tags

Written by: