Ice Cube Asks Bill Maher Why He Thought He Could Use The N-Word (Video)
Last night (June 9), Ice Cube appeared as a guest on Bill Maher’s program, Real Time. Generally, his appearance on the show alone wouldn’t necessarily be newsworthy, but in the wake of Maher’s current scandal, the Amerikkka’s Most Wanted rapper’s presence on this week’s episode is particularly notable. Last week, while interviewing Senator Ben Sasse, Maher casually used the term “house n**er” in a moment of unscripted “comedy” on his late-night HBO political talk show eliciting blow-back from those accusing the Politically Incorrect comedian of being a racist.
Cube, who is currently promoting the 25th anniversary reissue of his solo LP Death Certificate, was already scheduled to be on the program before Maher’s latest faux pas. In speaking with Rolling Stone in the days leading up to yesterday’s taping, Cube said of Maher’s tasteless joke, “He knows that’s a bad word to a lot of people. Now, the question is: Why did he think he could be that comfortable with saying that? What makes you think you can say that? Why did you think you could get away with that?” Not only not humorous, Cube said Maher’s use of the word has reignited a debate that very often leads nowhere and is just “a facade of a lot of bullsh*t. Everybody knows, because of white supremacy, Black people got it bad. And it’s just not funny, the bully mentality.”
In response to the specifics of Bill Maher’s joke in question – in which he referred to himself as a “house ni**er,” Cube says “he wants to talk about ‘house ni**as,’ like they had it so much better?” he continues with a laugh. “It’s like, please. It wasn’t a cakewalk for a so-called ‘house ni**a,’ either, unless you like being raped. Sometimes, you gotta know when to shut up. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”
Pointedly, Cube also expressed his view that “it’s like rich, white guys are the reason why Black people are in the position they’re in. You’re supposed to be a champion, or you’re supposed to be a liberal, but racism lives in both parties. It does. So let’s throw away the facade and the bullsh*t. Let’s be real.”
What better venue to have a “real” conversation about use of the n-word than on a program branding itself on doing just that? And keep it real, they did.
“I knew you were gonna f*ck up sooner or later,” Ice Cube said to the fellow comedian. “I love your show, you got a great show, but you’ve been bucking up against that line a little bit. You’ve got a lot of Black jokes.” Cube compared the New York veteran TV personality to a racist stereotype. “Sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker.”
The N.W.A. MC continued, “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 are too familiar, or think they’re too familiar, or they had a Black girlfriend or two that made them some Kool-Aid and they think they can cross the line. And they can’t.” Cube’s illustration to Maher may have been direct. Maher was once quoted as saying, “People say I’m into Black women. Robert De Niro is into Black women. I’m just into women who are real, and they happen to be Black.” Among those relationships is former Playboy “playmate” Coco Johnsen, and Hip-Hop model-turned-author Karrine Steffans.
Cube finished his point, “It’s a word that has been used against us. It’s like a knife, man. 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 going to let that happen again by nobody, because it’s not cool….That’s our word now, and you can’t have it back.”
Additional Reporting by Bandini.