During Kanye West’s live performance of "All Day" at the BRITs last week, the stage was filled with dozens of energized, enthusiastic onlookers. In the crowd, however, Lionel Richie was having the opposite reaction.
It turns out that's because he wasn't pleased with the language Yeezy was using in his new single.
"Am I fan of the n-word? Not coming from the 1960s and '70s," Richie told the Daily Mirror. "Whereas the new world has embraced it."
“I don’t think it’s OK for a black man to use the n-word. I don’t like it -- and I am a black man. I don’t think it should be said and become normal.”
“Kanye is giving us the generation shock value. How he carries on for the next 10 years we will see."
Kanye either didn't hear the criticism or didn't care, because on Sunday, he wished his frequent collaborator Mike Dean a happy birthday on Twitter, and used the word.
"YOU ARE A LEGEND, A GREAT FRIEND, AND RESPECTFULLY EVEN THOUGH YOU WHITE ONE OF THE REALEST N---AS ALIVE," he wrote.
HAPPY BDAY TO MY BROTHER MIKE DEAN, MIKE YOU’RE ONE OF THE GREATEST LIVING MUSICIANS IF NOT THE GREATEST— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 2, 2015
THERE WOULD BE NO FIX, NO WATCH THE THRONE, NO COLLEGE DROPOUT, NO GOLD DIGGER WITHOUT YOU BRO!!!!— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 2, 2015
If Richie wasn't pleased with 'Ye's usage, he surely wouldn't be on board with Rich Homie Quan’s take on the word, either -- and, specifically, whether or not he's OK with his white fans using it.
"I feel good [about it], man," the rapper told VladTV when asked about white people using the n-word when singing the hook to YG's hit, "My N---a," which features the Atlanta rapper. "Because it's that title track. That's what we want people to do, it's like crossover music. I feel good man, I don't look nothing by it. I [don't have a bias] so it's good man. You make music so people recite it."
This is a debate that's been going on for years, and is probably not going anywhere any time soon.