Last week, Bill Maher shocked viewers of his “Real Time” television program on HBO, when he used the N-word to refer to himself as a “house ni**er.” This week, Ice Cube appeared on his show to address the matter.
“I love your show,” said Cube. “But you be buckin’ up against that line a little bit. You got a lot of black jokes. Sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker. My thing is this…I just wanna know…What made you think that it was cool to say that?”
Maher responded: “There was no thought put into it. Comedians, they react. It was wrong and I apologize.”
Cube used this as a “teachable moment,” explaining why the word is so hurtful. “I accept your apology,” he said. “But I still think we need to get to the root of the psyche because I think there’s a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they’re a little too familiar or they think they’re too familiar, or it’s guys that might have a black girlfriend or two that made them some Kool-Aid every now and then. They think they can cross the line and they can’t.
“It’s a word that’s been used against us. It’s like a knife,” he continued. “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. We’re not gonna let that happen again by nobody. It’s not cool. Now, I know you heard. It’s in the lexicon. Everybody talkin’, but that’s our word now and you can’t have it back.”
Earlier in the week, Maher apologized for using the racial slur on his program. “I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment,” he said. “The word was offensive and I regret saying it and I’m very sorry.”
Cube was not the only rapper to discuss Maher’s use of the word. Killer Mike, who previously appeared on “Real Time,” also addressed Maher during an interview with TMZ. “I would have punched a Bill in his stomach and said, ‘You sound stupid,’ and we would’ve smoked a joint after,” he explained. “You know why? Because that’s what you do when your white friend is 15 and he gets a little too comfortable and says it, you punch your friend in his stomach. I’m a fierce believer in the First Amendment, so whether I agree with you or not, I believe in your right to say it.”
Ice Cube was also on “Real Time” to promote his newest release, Death Certificate: 25th Anniversary Edition, a commemoration of his classic 1991 album. The project features three new tracks including “Good Cop Bad Cop” and “Only One Me.”