The History Of White Celebrities Using The "N" Word

Patti Smith

Date: 1978

Patti Smith provoked criticism when she attempted to turn a racial jab into a provocative statement in her song "Rock N Roll N***er." In the song, she refers to Jimi Hendrix, Jesus Christ, Jackson Pollock, and "Grandma, too" as the "N" word, followed by, "Outside of society, that's where I want to be," attempting to liken the word to some positive form of ostracism that she sought after.

Despite receiving criticism at the time it was released, "Rock N Roll N**er" is widely considered an artistic success, having been covered by many artists and featured on the soundtrack of 1994's Natural Born Killers.

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