In this week’s episode of racial nonsense, the Virginia Tech Women’s Lacrosse team seemed thoroughly enthusiastic heading home from a tournament this past weekend and wanted to share their camaraderie. The women were all hyped and singing the latest smash hit, Freaky Friday, a song by white rapper Lil Dicky. In this song, Dicky raps about how cool it would be to switch bodies with Chris Brown. He gets into all the things that he could do if he was as cool, popular, talented and as (unapologetically) BLACK as Chris Brown; including the use of the word “nigga.” And of course in typical white obliviousness, the lacrosse team seemed to believe that they were clearly within their right to sing the song shamelessly with no self-imposed edits. To put it more bluntly, they scream the word nigga at the top of their lungs at every opportunity provided within the song. And of course, because the best racial insensitivity requires a full public audience, their exuberance was posted on Snapchat for the world to see.
In the Snapchat video, the Lady Hokie Lacrosse players were singing along to the Chris Brown verse from Lil Dicky’s song Freaky Friday. The verse describes Lil Dicky taking advantage of being in Brown’s body in order to use the word in question.
which led to multiple DM’s…
After receiving numerous complaints, the coaching staff and the University released a statement and a resemblance of an apology in which they assured that the situation will be dealt with.
In a separate interview, Head Coach John Sung said that there was no intended harm in the video and that the players were only celebrating the win:
“They had just won. They’re singing songs. The first couple songs were Disney songs. They were celebrating and they were dancing and they were excited.” “They’re good kids that made a bad decision.”
“We’re trying to do what’s right. This isn’t something that we sweep under the rug,” “The team is extremely sorry. They’re trying to make it right. And I know that we’ll never make it right with anybody, but … this is a moment that defines this program but yet a moment that will help this program be better.”
“They’ve got to be educated to make better decisions,”
“They’ve got to know what’s socially acceptable, and I think they’re learning all those things. It’s a lot on me as the leader. People forget — I’m a minority.”
Head Coach John Sung grew up in Michigan, his parents emigrated to the United States from South Korea. Sung is in his second season as the Head Coach of the 17th-ranked Hokies (9-3 overall, 2-0 ACC). Coach Sung confirmed he met with the team, who also met with the athletic administration about the incident in question. To what end, yet remains to be seen. When asked in the interview if there would be any disciplinary action for the players, Sung said “we’re working through everything still.” A Virginia Tech spokesman declined to say if athletic director Whit Babcock or any players would make a direct statement.
This is just the latest of incidents that has occurred in the past few months in the sport of lacrosse. This past January, former Maryland Terrapin and current U.S. attacker Alex Aust posted an Instagram story that also used the word “nigga.” This came after a series of racially charged incidents dating back to December, including one that called a team mostly made up of minorities, “convicts.”
Wait a second. Did I really just read a post referring to a team made up of majority minorities ‘Convicts’????
— Kyle Harrison (@KyleHarrison18) December 30, 2017
Lacrosse took a few steps backwards this week.
Coaches – talk to your players about the real world and what is right and wrong.
— Ryan Flanagan (@RyanFlanagan24) December 30, 2017
So the first thing you have to know is that I fucks with Lil Dicky. I think he’s pretty funny, he doesn’t cross the margins, he stays in his lane and his content is always original, also the truth of the matter is that the kid can flow. You should also know I am a lacrosse player. (Yes, there are lots and lots of black lacrosse players, go do your Googles)
I wouldn’t go far enough to label Lil Dicky an appropriator but I would go far enough to say that he is unknowingly complicit in skirting the boundary of appropriation behavior.
B.I.G. said it best, “Whoever thought that hip hop would take it this far?” Hip Hop is going farther than any of us ever expected in our wildest dreams. But like any business, there are always vultures who are only here for the monetary gains and care nothing for the sacred traditions and cultural reflections being depicted within the art. Lil Dicky is definitely not one of these aforementioned vultures, but Lil Dicky does operate in a space that allows for such people to thrive on the front and back end of the industry period; and not every person who buys a Lil Dicky record will fully grasp the social and cultural relevance of the musical exchange in the way Lil dickey may (or may not). It’s not necessarily Lil Dicky’s job to put a cultural disclaimer on every record he makes, but we do live in a world where some people are blinded willfully, and in some cases inadvertently play into the stigma and oppression that are afflicted upon people of color who are usually reflected in the hip hop art form. That basic BUT fundamental understanding alone is usually not permeating Suburban White America where presumably most of these lacrosse players are from.
Over the decades, as hip-hop culture has immersed as a more mainstream genre, it has become more susceptible as a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market. It has been, in a sense, stripped of cultural relevance purely for the expressed intent of monetary gain. And without its cultural relevance, there is no weight, cautionary signals or big flashing lights to remind white people that there are still some spaces that you should not occupy.
And this is where white girls like the Virginia Tech Women’s Lacrosse team often make their mistake; They often find themselves listening and partaking in the social norms of hip hop music without understanding the cultural relevance which often leads them down an inevitable, yet, common path of public self-destruction. . .
. . .And the detonator is almost usually the same; the use of the word “nigga.” Refusing to wallow in the semantics of “GA” vs. “ER” vs. “GAH,” the simple rule is JUST DON’T USE IT. Your white privilege gives you license to almost everything else in this world. But you can not have that word (back).
In typical fashion, this has been labeled as another “teaching moment;” but what is the lesson? I’m not absolutely sure. The level of privilege and isolation that these kind of white people are afforded shields them from both true consequence and true clarity. Some of the ignorance is willful, but most of it is imposed. They can’t help their socioeconomic status, they were born into it and they don’t get to choose what schools they attend or what information is fed to them. If all that your parents watch is Fox News, then chances are you either watch too or worst, you may choose to not watch the news at all because “it’s too negative” (the favorite woefully ignorant catchphrase). If all you know about hip hop music is the innocent, friendly face of Lil Dicky, then you’ll feel safe. But it will ultimately lead to this kind of mistakes. This won’t be last time this happens. It’s just the way things are.