Education Reporter, Laura Onyeneho

Joe Rogan on the chopping block

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – AUGUST 25: India.Arie attends Black Girls Rock 2019 Hosted By Niecy Nash at NJPAC on August 25, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

What’s Black History Month without a little controversy, right? Recently, comedian, UFC commentator, and Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan came under fire for his repeated use of the n-word and reportedly comparing a Black neighborhood to a “Planet of the Apes” movie. News spread after Grammy Award-winning singer India Arie posted a video of more than 20 clips showing Rogan using the racial slur on his podcast called “The Joe Rogan Experience”. Rogan eventually apologized saying it was the “most regretful and shameful thing” he’s had to address and those were said more than a decade ago. One thing about the internet — it will never forget, even if you have moved on.

Now, there is a growing list of those who’ve removed their content from Spotify. In addition, Spotify deleted more than 100 episodes of Rogan’s podcast; the reason is unknown even though many speculate it was due to the controversy. Rogan said in a video apology that there wasn’t anything he could do to take it back, it was taken out of context and the incident could be a teachable moment. Everyone is entitled to free speech but be prepared when your speech starts to impact your pockets. If Rogan can boldly say this on a public platform, can you imagine what he has said off air?

Senegal wins first African Cup of Nations championship

ACCRA, GHANA – FEBRUARY 10: Achille Emama of Cameroon competes with Wael Gomaa Kamel Elhawty of Egypt during the AFCON Final between Egypt and Cameroon at the Ohene Djan stadium on February 10, 2008 in Accra, Ghana. (Lefty Shivambu/Gallo/Getty Images)

Soccer might not be the most popular sport in the U.S, but best believe Africans in the diaspora were glued to their television sets as they proudly watched their countries battle it out during the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) this year. The hype around this is equivalent to America and its obsession with the Super Bowl. It’s a biennial international men’s soccer tournament that was hosted in Cameroon, West Africa. The defending champion lost its bid to repeat, and in the end, Senegal beat Egypt 4-2 on penalty kicks.

This is the first time Senegal has won. You might be saying, “And so what?” I’m here to tell you that the AFCON is the third-largest continental championship in the world behind Europe and South America and includes some of the world’s greatest soccer players who play in the English Premier League, the most-watched league in the world and they are Blickity-BLACKKKKK!!! Many of the players who migrated to Europe see this as a way to pay homage to the country their ancestors came from. It’s the only time (in my opinion) outside the Olympics where Black nations come together for the love of this sport. So, shout out to my Senegalese people, the originators of the legendary Jollof rice.

Comedian addressing her “Blaccent” controversy sparks Black-lash

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 12: Awkwafina attends the 2021 AFI Fest Official Screening of Magnolia Pictures’ “Swan Song” at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 12, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Remember when I said Black History Month couldn’t be a month without some type of drama? Well, here we go again. This time we are focused on “linguistic acculturation.” Comedian and actress Awkwafina (Nora Lum) is also on the chopping block after years of pushback about her appropriation of African American Vernacular English (ebonics) and using a “blaccent” to top it off. The Queens-born Asian American star recently issued a lengthy statement on Twitter without an actual apology. She said, “As a non-black POC, I stand by the fact that I will always listen and work tirelessly to understand the history and context of AAVE, what is deemed appropriate or backward toward the progress of any and every marginalized group.”

After the statement, she announced she was leaving Twitter. Just like that. I think we’ve learned over time that non-Black people love being Black until it’s time to be Black. Awkwafina benefited from the exact community she has mocked over the years. To be honest, I wouldn’t have known who she was if not for her role in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” mimicking the same accent that has put her under fire today. This won’t be the first or last time we will hear something like this. It’s just sad that it is still a topic of discussion.

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...