Mind your language, Reg

Hunter clashes with Big Brother's Charly

Reginald D Hunter has been criticised for using the word ‘nigga’ in his stand-up by Big Brother contestant Charly Uchea.

The pair clashed in a debate at the Edinburgh TV festival about the use of offensive language on screen.

Charly had first-hand experience of the topic, after housemate Emily Parr was ejected for casually using the word as a term of endearment. Charly said she was hurt by the comment, even though it was meant with no malice.

She told Hunter he was wrong to use the word. ‘You shouldn’t be saying it. You shouldn’t be making jokes out of it, it’s so wrong,’ she said in an excitable exchange.

‘People like you are setting examples for kids who think they can say it. Why make comedy out of things that cause offence? It’s not normal.’

Hunter, whose 2005 and 2006 Fringe shows both contained the word ‘nigga’ said: ‘There’s a difference between something being wrong and something being uncomfortable. We need to look at the real, deeper, issues rather than whether a word makes you feel uncomfortable.’

He said he did feel a chill every time he heard the word but said ‘in a few seconds, I’m over it’ and that context was everything. ‘If people are saying it because they just don’t give a fuck, that impresses me most.’

Hunter said that within a generation the word would have lost its sting completely. ‘The word is evolving,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t really matter what you feel about it. These kids come along today and they use it, they don’t care about the history of it.

‘In Western society the white people have had all the power. But the one power black people enjoy is to look at a white person and say, “you can’t say that.” It is purely a power game.’

The Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV festival continues until Sunday.

Here’s the controversial exchange between Charly and Emily on Big Brother:

Published: 25 Aug 2007

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