It's December 19, 2011 and yet this happened today: A fashion magazine out of the Netherlands published a story on how to dress like Rihanna. The headline? "De Niggabitch." Really.
Here's the full excerpt from Jackie magazine, translated by Parlour magazine:
“She has street cred, she has a ghetto ass and she has a golden throat. Rihanna, the good girl gone bad, is the ultimate niggabitch and displays that gladly, and for her that means: what’s on can come off. If that means she’ll be on stage half naked, then so be it. But Dutch winters aren’t like Jamaican ones [Ed. note: Rihanna is not Jamaican], so pick a clothing style in which your daughter can resist minus ten. No to the big sunglasses and the pornheels, and yes to the tiger print, pink shizzle and everything that glitters. Now let’s hope she won’t beat anybody up at daycare.”
Wait. What? TheYBF asked one of their Dutch readers if, by some chance, that word meant something different in the Netherlands. Nope. "The term means exactly what it means in English," the reader said. "The problem with Dutch people is that often they know exactly what they are saying but as soon as someone confronts them about it we are being too sensitive and wasn't meant to be offensive...This is not a 'fashionsta' term, we say bitch here as well and it means exactly the same as in English, as well as 'nigga.' No different meaning whatsoever." So that clears that up.
As upsetting and hurtful and straight-up stupid as this article is, EIC Eva Hoeke's "apology" letter, posted on the magazine's Facebook page, is almost more infuriating:
First: thanks for all your responses. We are of course very fed up over this and especially very shocked. However I’m glad that we’re engaging in a dialogue on this page — not everybody does that. Thanks for this. Other than that I can be brief about this: this should have never happened. Period. While the author meant no harm — the title of the article was intended as a joke — it was a bad joke, to say the least. And that slipped through my, the editor-in-chief’s, fingers. Stupid, painful and sucks for all concerned. The author has been addressed on it, and now I can only ensure that these terms will no longer end up in the magazine. Furthermore I hope that you all believe there was absolutely no racist motive behind the choice of words. It was stupid, it was naive to think that this was an acceptable form of slang — you hear it all the time on tv and radio, then your idea of what is normal apparently shifts — but it was especially misguided: there was no malice behind it. We make our magazine with love, energy and enthusiasm, and it can sometimes happen that someone is out of line. And then you can only do one thing: apologize. And hope that others wish to accept it.
From the bottom of my heart I say it again: we never intended to offend anyone. And I mean that.
The apology is there (as is some bad Google translating) but so is the admission that the headline was meant as a joke. Not funny. Jezebel writer Anna North points out that "this is an especially racist time of year for the Netherlands — it's the time when people put on blackface to imitate Zwarte Piet, Santa's 'servant.' Maybe Jackie was just infected with the racist-Christmas spirit."
What do you make of this debacle?