Just Stop It

When I read Rae Dawn Chong called Oprah Winfrey a fat bitch that would’ve been a “field nigger” back in the days of slavery, I shared the same reaction as most of you: What in the hell is a Rae Dawn Chong? Once I turned to Google and saw an image, I screamed back at my computer, “That’s not Rosie Perez!” By the time I realized Rae Dawn Chong played the woman Oprah knocked the hell out of at the juke joint in The Color Purple, the actress had already issued the requisite non-apology apology that celebrities and celebrity-adjacents offer when controversy arises.

(Chong has now made the video private…)

Chong basically offered a poor explanation guised as an “I’m almost sorry” that loosely translates into, “Please, Harpo, don’t hurt ‘em.”

You see, Rae Dawn Chong was actually “complimenting” Oprah when she said, “Sixty years ago she would have been a housekeeper, luckily. She would have been a field nigger.” The same goes for Oprah being a “great brown-noser” and that, “If you were in a room with her, she will pick the most powerful person and become best friends with them.”

And yes, if you’re keeping score, this, too, was a big kudos to Tyler Perry’s homie for life: “She was that fat chick in school that did everything and everybody loved her. That’s Oprah. Love me, love me, love me.”

Pulling the tried and true “It’s the media fault!” card, Chong quipped, “Thanks, TMZ.” She then went on to note, “Out of context, it’s a most unfortunate choice of words and I regret it. Do I take back everything I said? No.”

Rae also invoked the George Zimmerman case to denote it’s bad timing to throw out such inflammatory racially charged language. It may have taken the second delivery attempt, but at least UPS delivered Chong her missing clue. Now if only she could get those moments she wasted creating that video back. I’d like a refill my damn self.

How does one take “she would’ve been a field nigger during slavery” out of context exactly? Is it really that difficult for the press or anyone with at least six working brain cells to twist the accusation that Oprah’s high school existence largely consisted of her being a chubby girl clamoring for validation? If you don’t take back everything you said and you’re blaming whatever you purportedly regret back mostly on the media, what are you apologizing for?

I’m not a numbers man, but I know how to add and subtract some bull. Like, is this sarcasm, a legitimate attempt at saving face or some twisted measure of both? Whatever it is, it’s ineffective.

One wonders why Rae Dawn Chong even bothered back peddling from comments made in an interview only a few hours after the fact. Is she worried that it might’ve been career suicide? Wait, that can’t be it. I mean, what else is there to kill?

I suppose I should pose the question of imminent harm to Gayle King, who probably is still tying her hair up while listening to Crime Mob’s “I’ll Beat Yo Azz” – waiting on the day she catches Rae Dawn Chong asking for change at a local Subway, trying to score Subway’s featured footlong for the month.

Rae Dawn Chong’s response to “the giant s**t-storm” she represents an annoying trend that I’d like to run over with my car.

I’m all for public figures offering sincere, thoughtful apologies that speaks to true reflection and regret. What can go, however, are these knee-jerk reactionary statements that amount to nothing more than “I’m so sorry this has gotten me in trouble.”

The same can be said of Keri Hilson, who reportedly recorded an apology track with Timbaland dedicated to Beyoncé  and Jay Z. While Tim is sorry for whatever personal conflict he and Hov had years back, Keri is said to want to say sorry for the “perception” that she dissed Beyoncé. So, Keri, you want to tell Beyoncé that you’re sorry the masses aren’t stupid and can spot thinly veiled insults and shade?


Rae, Oprah doesn’t care about your life or your bitterness that you couldn’t buy her success with her credit card. Moreover, may every drop of melanin flee you in favor of a less self-loathing suitor.

Keri, Beyoncé knows you want her wig to tribute Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial.

And while I’m here, Paula Deen, we all know you want the confederacy to reign again.

The only thing worse than jackass behavior is the jackass in question not having the nerve to stand behind their convictions. To that end, celebrities and those close enough by today’s lowered standards: Say what you mean and mean what you say and say nothing when neither applies. It’s best this way.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer whose work is as fluent in Crime Mob as it is C-SPAN. Follow him @youngsinick.

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