Essence.com: Do you identify as a Black woman?
K.W.: I am a woman. I ain’t like Tiger Woods (suuurre — RichBoi88). The truth is I’m 25 percent Black. I claim to be Black, Native American and White. I’m all of it. If you ask me, “What are you?” I’m going to say, “I’m a woman.” I stand up for all women. I don’t care if you’re Black, White, Chinese, whatever. But I don’t know what my mama put on my birth certificate…. (Laughs)
Essence.com: So did your mom ever discuss race with you?
K.W.: I know when I was a little girl she would never let me and my brother watch movies that criticized Black people or where White people treated Black people really disgusting, like Roots. She didn’t want us to see how White people treated Black people because she probably thought we might start hating White people.
Essence.com: Was she afraid of how you and your brothers might perceive her?
K.W.: I used to tell her we’re not blind to the fact because we’re sitting there listening to people call her a “n—er lover” or accusing my daddy of being a “sell out” because he’s with a White chick. I told her she didn’t have to hide that stuff from us because we did see and hear about it, and kids did treat us differently.
Essence.com: Did she ever talk to you about the N-word?
K.W.: My mom was raised around African-American people all her life. She can cornrow and everything. All she knows is the African-American way of living, because her stepfather was Black and she was raised by his family. She will use the N-word like it’s going out of style. I say, “Mama you can’t just go around using the N-word,” and she’s like, “I don’t give a damn. I say what I want to say. N—a ain’t no color, it’s an ignorant person.”
Essence.com: But that word is still synonymous with Black folk. So you couldn’t watch Roots, but she used the N-word around you and your siblings?
K.W.: No, she doesn’t say “n—er,” she says “n—a” and says it in front of everybody, every day. She has always said it since I was a little girl. Hell, I thought my name was “n—er” for a long time (laughs). We never thought about it being a bad word.
Essence.com: Wow. So she didn’t want you to watch Roots, but she referred to you and your brother with the N-word? Do you think it’s time for her to stop using it?
K.W.: People should feel free to say what they want to say as long as they don’t use it to hurt other people. I don’t think “n—a” is a bad word. I don’t think it’s directed toward people of color. Now, the word “n—er,” if you call me that, I will kick your a– because now you’re trying to be nasty and hurt my feelings. It depends on how you’re using it.
Essence.com: But do you really think there’s enough of a distinction between the two to make exceptions?
K.W.: Yes, because back in the day they were saying it with the “er” on the end. I think it’s just like saying Negro, because the word in the dictionary it means “ignorant person.”
Essence.com: Yes, and many people still believe that “ignorant people” equals “Black people.”
K.W.: At the end of the day, you’re the one who is ignorant. I don’t think people should use the word so much. I hate how everyone thinks that Black people are beneath them, even Asians, Whites and …Mexicans. No, I’m not all Black, but I definitely stand up for the Black people. They’ve had it rough, they can’t help the fact that they’re skin is dark, or that their nose is a lil’ wider or that the curls in their hair might be tighter. I don’t think that it’s fair for people who look like me—the light skin, pointy nose and pretty hair—to think that dark-complected people are any less than them. Who am I? I’m not better than you. I breathe the same air and I bleed the same blood. Nobody is better than anybody else. We are all in this struggle called life. I think brown skin is beautiful because people like me have to lay out in the sun to try and look like you. My best friends are Black—I mean, Black-Black—and I think that’s so beautiful. I think that’s why I decided to make my children Black…I could have married a White dude and my kids probably would have looked completely White. That’s not what I wanted. Now, they can go outside and get a for-real tan (laughs). I think Black is beautiful. I stand for the African-American people until the day I die.
MG Says: But wait, there is a lot more. This “woman” has a lot more to say. One word not in her vocabulary is humble. Please read the entire interview at Essence.com.