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Tyler the Creator: ‘Faggot’ is offensive only if you let it be

Photo: Tyler the Creator and his friend Frank Ocean.

Tyler the Creator appeared on Arsenio, where the 22-year-old rapper was asked by host Arsenio Hall why he uses the word “faggot” even though he has gay friends like Frank Ocean.

Not too sure if Sara, of Tegan and Sara, who wrote a scathing open letter to Tyler titled “A Call for Change” over his perceived homophobia would agree, but what he says makes a lot of sense to me. It’s not the word itself that has power, it’s the intent behind it. Censorship is just fear-mongering, and we can’t erase words — nor should we want to. Our words have history and significance, which is constantly evolving, and that’s what makes them beautiful. 

"That’s just a word; you can take the power out of that word. The way that I see things, it’s you chose to be offended if you care more about stuff like that. And that might sound very ignorant, but if you’re a black person and someone calls you the N-word and you get offended, maybe you might be. But if I know that I’m not an N-word . . . I’m not gonna get offended because I know that I’m not that. Frank [Ocean] is gay, and I use that word all the time. He doesn’t care because he knows me. He knows when I say that word I’m not thinking of someone’s sexual orientation. It’s just another word that has no meaning."

Tyler is so anti-censorship he expressed his annoyance while on the show that a producer warned him to say “N-word” instead of “nigger."

Check out a video of the interview, which includes Tyler’s thoughts on why he doesn’t do drugs and the YouTube Awards being a missed opportunity to celebrate the real creativity that can be found on the video site in favour of more mainstream ass-kissing: