CBS censors had an active time blocking out curse words during the many must-see performances at the Grammys last night. But despite zealously silencing and bleeping "shit," "goddamn," and "nigga," the censors allowed Macklemore's "faggots" to come out clearly. What's the deal? When is a slur not a slur?
Macklemore faithfully rapped from his pro-gay marriage 'Same Love,' following the exact lyrics from the hit song. "A culture founded from oppression, yeah we don't have acceptance for em. Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board."
"Same Love" is a song directly addressing the gay slur, as the next line specifically calls it a "word rooted in hate." And Macklemore says the word as a quote of awful name-calling on Youtube comments.
But context rarely matters in terms of censorship, which makes the CBS decision particularly strange. It's not as if the CBS censors were asleep at the wheel. When Kendrick Lamar rapped about "my niggas," it's not an offensive term to him or his friends, it's a term of affection. Still, that part of his "m.A.A.d city" performance was silenced out earlier in the night. CBS was active during Lamar's performance, also silencing out several instances of "fuck" and the God part of goddamn. (A point for another day.)