Previous ArticleNext Article

Exclusive: Sherri Shepherd Defends Her Use of the N-Word

Comments
Sherri Shepherd 2
The ongoing debate over the use of the N-word took center stage on the "The View" back in October, when the hot topic of former Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry’s hunting camp’s name came up.

The always-outspoken Sherri Shepherd ruffled more than a few feathers when she revealed that she believes it’s okay for African-Americans, not Whites, to use the controversial term.

While Shepherd certainly isn’t the first to use the insider argument to validate the use of the N-word, the TV host was the recipient of a fiery backlash from African-Americans who reject the word entirely.

PHOTOS: 25 Reasons To Look Forward to 2012

ESSENCE.com caught up with Shepherd -- who stars in "One for the Money" (out January 27) -- and asked her to elaborate on her statement and explain why she's comfortable using the word:

"That word brings up so many issues with everybody. I have Black friends who hate the word and don’t want it used. I respect those friends, and I don’t use the word around them. However, this is a word that was in my family. When my uncle played dominos and spades, I heard it used in the utmost of affection. My mother used this word with my father, and my cousin used to say it at our family reunions. I also heard it when I moved to the suburbs in Chicago, and it was used very negatively towards me by White people. To hear a White person say it just brings back those negative feelings.

PHOTOS: Famous Celebrity N-Word Slip-Ups

"On the other hand, it was used in a positive way at home when I was growing up. How can it be positive? The power was taken out of the word, and I know where it comes from. I respect Richard Pryor for deciding not to use it after he returned from his trip to Africa. For me, this word was just a fun word attached to some wonderful memories of people in my family. It was very hard for me to articulate just what I hear when different people use it. Then again, I probably need to take a closer look at it too. When I was younger, there was a clear line on who could use that word and who couldn't. It’s gotten really blurred today with the young kids, Black and White, who buy the rap music.

"Do I use it around my son? No. He has no filter and everything mommy says he repeats. I personally don’t want him going to school and saying it. It is something I call Sal (husband Lamar Sally). That’s our word and I know he loves me with everything he’s got. I know that may make some people mad. Some lady tweeted me, 'You sent Black people back 400 years.' I tweeted her back, 'If my saying I don’t have a problem using the word set us back 400 years, you got some deeper issues than that.'  I’m not taking that on me."

PHOTOS: Sherri Shepherd Preps For Her Dream Wedding
 
What do you think about Sherri Shepherd's stance on the N-word?

black-talk-show-hosts-launch-icon
Filed Under: Exclusive
« Previous Entry
ESSENCE Exclusive: S. Epatha Merkerson talks 'Find Our Missing'
Next Entry »
Exclusive First Listen: Hear Seal's 'Soul 2' Track By Track