Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dear John, Say it ain't so...

...that was my first thought when I heard that John Mayer was dropping the "N' word in a recent playboy interview. I was all set to hit the un-follow button on his twitter page, when I got my senses and decided to actually read the article. (Yes, I know, I'm probably the only one reading playboy for the article{s}).

While I find his choice of words in VERY poor taste, I have to say he makes a good point. Prior to the below excerpt, the interviewer has queried Mayer about Jennifer Aniston. There had also been a query about Jennifer inspiring Heartbreak Warfare, which Mayer denies

PLAYBOY: What’s the moral there?

MAYER: You have to show that you don’t take yourself seriously. Once you do that, people will say you’re cool: “You know what? I gotta say I never liked him until he made fun of himself, and now I like him.”

PLAYBOY: If you didn’t know you, would you think you’re a douche bag?

MAYER: It depends on what I picked up. My two biggest hits are “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters.” If you think those songs are pandering, then you’ll think I’m a douche bag. It’s like I come on very strong. I am a very…I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.

PLAYBOY: Because you’re very?

And here's where John seems to want to escape from the query.....

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’"

VERY POOR CHOICE IN WORDS....But, he makes a couple of good points. Maybe people have come up with a more creative tag for African Americans in the phrase "hood pass". Perhaps those that use that phrase have been conditioned not to use the "N" word still feel the need to classify each sect of the population. John seems to make it perfectly clear that while his music is soulful he's never had the African American experience so he can't be considered a part of the "hood".

PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.

MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

Hmmm...isn't this what ownership of the "N" word is all about. How many times have we heard young, African American rappers drop the "N" word in the middle of their songs or as a greeting. I've heard Jay-Z say, in an interview, that it's done so that African Americans can own the word. The truth is everyone should eliminate this word. Unless and until it is eliminated, we will continue to get incensed every time it's used.

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

Again, an unfortunate use of words, but I have to say at least he's being honest.

PLAYBOY: Let’s put some names out there. Let’s get specific.

MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.” And you’d be like, “What? We weren’t talking about that.” That’s what “Heartbreak Warfare” is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.

Woe, woe, woe...more UNFORTUNATE language, but now he's got me. Yes there are differences between races; there are differences among women; I don't think it's due to race or anything other than our life experiences.

PLAYBOY: You said that song isn’t about Aniston. Why is it important for people to know that?

MAYER: I’m very protective of Jen.

Perhaps before John got derailed to save Jen he should have listened & thought about what he was saying before it excited his mouth.

He issued a retraction via his twitter page:
Re: using the 'N word' in an interview: I am sorry that I used the word. And it's such a shame that I did because the point I was trying to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself. It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it, because I realize that there's no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally charged.

And while I'm using today for looking at myself under harsh light, I think it's time to stop trying to be so raw in interviews...

It started as an attempt to not let the waves of criticism get to me, but it's gotten out of hand and I've created somewhat of a monster.

I wanted to be a blues guitar player. And a singer. And a songwriter. Not a shock jock. I don't have the stomach for it.

Again, because I don't want anyone to think I'm equivocating: I should have never said the word and I will never say it again.

I just wanted to play the guitar for people. Everything else just sort of popped up and I improvised, and kept doubling down on it...

Before you make your decision based on one word, I hope you'll take a moment to read the article and then judge for yourself. To me he comes across a little sad, a little lonely and if you chip away at his outer shell I suspect we'll find a guy who is just looking for someone to like him.

I don't think he's a racist; I'm not going to un-follow him; I'm not going to burn my John Mayer CDs. However, I think he should stick to what he does best....make beautiful music.

Until next time, when we can chit-chat again!

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