The “N-word” has reared its ugly head again in the music industry and a well-known Chicago pastor is protesting its use. A T-shirt with the “N-word” spelled out on the front, worn at this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony by an East Co

And while the shirt caught his attention, it’s what he learned about the rapper that kept his attention. Def Jam Recordings artist Nas’ new CD, to be released in April, is titled the “N-word.” It will be spelled out. Pfleger is calling for the record company to rename the CD, for stores to not stock it, for consumers to back away from it and for radio stations to not play the music.

Def Jam said the title stands, but the spelling is undetermined. The South Side pastor said Nas has a right to exercise his freedom of speech, but should proceed with caution. He said many youth are easily influenced by the words and actions of their favorite music artists, and by displaying the “Nword” light-heartedly sends the wrong message.

“I understand that Nas is a conscientious rapper, but once you put that out there, you open the door for it to be used by anybody, in any way. It gives legitimacy to the word,” Pfleger told the Defender. The word should never be used as a term of endearment because it was born out of hatred, he said. “Nas may have the legal right to put out such a CD, but he has obviously failed in his moral responsibility.

With nooses showing up around the country and racism raising its ugly head every day, artists like Nas give a license for society to practice such racist behavior because of their disrespect. You cannot repackage hate and evil, and call it acceptable,” Pfleger said.

One local station has made a decision to stay away from Nas’ new selections while another station said it’s too early to make a decision. “WCGI [107.5-FM] has no plans to play the music from Nas’ new CD,” said Angela Ingram, communications director for the hip hop and R&B station. The Hammond, Ind.-based hip hop station Power 92 (WPWRFM/ 92.3) is undecided.

“We haven’t received anything new from him, so I really can’t answer right now on whether we will [play music from the CD] or not,” Barbara McDowell, music director at Power 92, said.

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