December 19th, 2011
Blacks in Fashion, Diversity, Fashion Discussion, Fashion News, Rihanna
Dutch Fashion Magazine Awards Rihanna Coveted “N*ggab*tch” Title
By The Fashion Bomb Staff

While we’ve been debating on whether or not Rihanna is Fashionista of the Year, Dutch Magazine Jackie has its own title to bestow on the pop diva: the Ultimate ” Niggabitch.”

The magazine references Ms. Fenty’s “street cred,” and “ghetto ass” as top qualifications for this award, saying she “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.” They also refer to Rihanna as “Jamaican,” because in their world, Jamaica and Barbados are the same place, as they are Caribbean islands where black people with funny accents live. We don’t need to break down this language to know it is rife with ignorant racist imagery. It’s offensive (albeit unsuprising), and filled with misguided ideas about what it means to exist as a black person in the world.

Rihanna showing what a true "niggabitch" is made of

The magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Eva Hoeke issued an apology saying: “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.”

You can try to make the argument for a bad translation or a misunderstanding of American culture and the use of and history behind that word, but it is a feeble one as western (and other) societies are well aware of the hurt those words carry for black people, especially in this country. To use the age-old trope “but black people use it,” is, to say the least, a cop out,  as I am positive many of these people wouldn’t dare use the homosexual slur “faggot” although some homosexuals use the word within their community.

Furthermore, there are a number of people involved in the publishing of a magazine. This copy is something that was undoubtedly seen by several editors, layout people, etc. The ‘ol “oops it slipped through my fingers” non-excuse is a little insulting because, if we’re going to believe that the Editor in Chief was unaware of the situation, that means all the other people who saw this didn’t care, or worse, just see us as a bunch of “niggabitches” anyway.

But at the end of the day, there is no way to use a loaded and offensive word and not mean to be offensive. Period. While I wish I could describe this as a teaching moment, these blatantly racist things happen so often, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before something equally racist and offensive happens again.

What say you? Do you think the writers and editors really didn’t see how this would offend anyone?


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73 Responses to “Dutch Fashion Magazine Awards Rihanna Coveted “N*ggab*tch” Title”

  1. GlammedOut says:

    Just disgusting…SMH!

  2. Lauren W says:

    You’re right it’s nothing but a matter of time until this happens again. Just sick and sad.

  3. Luvvie says:

    I need everyone involved w/ the publication of this magazine to go have SEVERAL seats in a dark corner. \__ <– seat. {\___/} <— sofa. |_____| <— park bench.

    There was truly no excuse for it and that weak apology letter is as effective as Chris Brown's burnt sienna apology blouse was. Ugh. Now I got an attitude.

  4. star says:

    i am disgusted by this ,but first of all i am disgusted that the N word is still prevelant in the african American community. Nigger means a stupid, and african americans are stupid for using that word. how long are we gonna bring ourselves down. Of course you call yourself stupid hence other people are going to see you as stupid. African american community rise up and stop using this vile word it does not serve anything except make other people look down upon you. So lets not get angry when other people or races use this word on us cause you have given them permission by using it ourselves.

  5. Deborah says:

    Those non English speaking European countries are extremely racist and they don’t hide it either.

  6. Styles says:

    This hurts on so many levels. 1) The tone deaf attitude of the current generation of youth of all colors. If you’re under 25 it seems that you have no concept of how to deal with race, and you don’t care. 2) It just reaffirms that this is one of the most complex periods of black identity in the history of the world. It’s exciting, but most days it’s just scary to be black and to think about what that means. 3) And most deeply, it’s doubly insulting that this happened in a Dutch magazine. Amazing that the pioneers of the slave trade can revel in their own insensitivity and ignorance. 4) It’s stunning that the apology feels like not enough. wowzers.

  7. TJ says:

    They are the dumbest. No excuse. They are the dumbest.

  8. Bie says:

    I’m sorry everyone with an accent is NOT Jamaican!

  9. Dee says:

    Wow!!! The EIC said it all…”a bad joke” Ya’ll joke like that? Really? Really! It seems to me that it is an inner office joke and forgot to change it before going to print. And all you could do is apologize and hope that it is accepted? Nice!

  10. Leslie says:

    Unreal – and yet so not surprising!

  11. Anne says:

    The article is on the edge but….. Keep in mind that Dutch are way more free to express them then what press in USA can do. And they can go way more towards the edge with it. Negro, nigger has not the same context it has it has in USA. And it is published in a Dutch language magazine. On TV for instance you can say whatever you want without being beeped. If you say fuck the queen or fuck the president or the queen is white trash… they will air it. I guess Netherlands is not the same as the US? Racism because of colour is not realy an issue in Netherlands. It is a much larger problem in the USA. Maybe that is why Americans react too sensitive on these kind of foreign journalism.

    I hope the Dutch keep their openess and freedom of speach also in their press. I hope they are not copying the too sensitive American journalism, were some react out of proportion on certain things and not at all focused on what realy is going on or the reason why things are written or in what context. Like Amsterdam has often been blaimed as a pool of crime in leading American media ………. and in real most Americans feel much safer in Amsterdam than at home. Discrimination is much more an issue in the USA then in the Netherlands.

  12. Alicia says:

    I’m actually more surprised at their pathetic apology, more so than the article. The United States is the most diverse country in the world and our President the most powerful man however when he’s criticized I cant help but think “Would the disdain be present if he were white?”…I’m so not surprised that these white-wash countries would print and distribute such ignorance.

  13. dani says:

    Unacceptable is an understatement for this. Im sure everyone who was involved in publishing this crap knew it was wrong. Not ok at all, but then again maybe they assumed “Ni**abitches” wouldn’t mind ….smh.

  14. I am from the Netherlands and what’s interesting is the fact that this morning, this Eva chick tweeted that we were being too sensitive and that it was a joke. Now, 130 negative comments on their fan page later, she issues a statement saying it was in poor taste, the word slipped through the cracks and a bunch of other nonsense. This is what we as Black people have to deal with constantly. The Dutch are very non-apologetic too. If you don’t like it, then go back where you came from!

  15. jasmine says:


  16. jasmine says:


  17. Styles says:

    jasmine, no disrespect and we’re all mad but….why is you yellin’ yo? :)

  18. jasmine says:


  19. alle says:

    that so call editor know what she was doing… she should have goggle the term and know that was offensive… there is no excuse for that.. as a Jamaican i hate when people think that we cant speak English because of our accent.. and the dumbness thing is people fail to realize that they have accent too!

  20. Marta says:

    I never understand apologies sometimes, if you say something or write something offensive is because you mean it and don’t try later on to be fake and say that you’re sorry when you know you aren’t. Shame on that publication and everybody involved!

  21. SHAQ NICHOLE says:

    Just ridiculous. This just tells to show us that racism is very much prevalent not only in America but around the world. So sad…smh

  22. Afrikka! says:

    really just dnt kno what to say

  23. Marci says:

    Appalling to say the least,that was no apology. Furthermore why hasn’t Rihanna & her team reacted to this garbage of an article.

  24. Donny Don says:

    There is no excuse for this type of ignorance in this day in age. Slipped through the editor fingers…Right? Sad that people are starved for knowledge and drowning in information. Stupid is as stupid does…!

  25. sun.kissed says:

    While this is disgusting, I’m not surprised. I wonder what Rihanna thinks of this.

  26. As a member of the publishing industry, and as you already pointed out, they knew what they were doing. That magazine went through rounds of edits, fact checks and several pairs of eyes before being published. So for it to actually get published without anyone questioning says that the staff at that magazine actually is racist since no one cared enough to stop it (because in their minds that’s what black women are) or they’ve been sipping stupid juice. Bottom line. And then had the nerve to insult us with an apology. How could something so blatantly racist not have been meant to offend? WTF!

  27. Kukua says:

    This is right out racism. I grew up in Germany, and of course people know what is offensive and what isn’t – you really do not need to be a white American to know this. They did this title on purpose and probably to be “controversial and ‘provocative’”. God how I hate this white media/journalist attitude – seen it all before and way too often.

  28. Joanne_ says:

    I’m appalled by it all. The editor is only trying to cover herself with the release of that statement. Wow, just wow.

  29. JaneBMore says:

    Born in the Caribbean and lived in the Netherlands now in US. There are so many offenses here that I would take too long to name. Suffice it to say that Europe like mainstream has a difficult time embracing a black woman as anything other than disposable piece of meat. The simpletons who found this amusing should be fired but that won’t happen because the leadership condoned this foolishness. The apology is useless because the excuse is bull. If this “editor” lets stuff like this slip through her finger then she should not have that job.

  30. lyn says:

    its amazing how everybody is quick to say its disgusting and cry racism. If it was a black person saying it you all be cool with it. nowonder white people are now confused. Black rappers refer to each other with the N word, most of u here have music that contain the N word and sing along and watch movies with the N word and applaud that. I am over this. White people and other races will stop using this word when black people start respecting themselves and stop using this word ever. just saying.

  31. Sticky-n-Sweet says:

    Rihanna just went IN on this woman and that whole magazine! So when Britney Spears strips and Madonna kisses chicks onstage, what are THEY?!

  32. nicki says:

    That was horrible article and title how would they not know that would be offensive unless you find it okay to be racist. If I use a racist term or look at a group of people a certain way then yes I might think that it is okay to say those same things about that group when and wherever. So the fact that they think there is nothing behind it and it was an innocent joke lets me know that they probably are racist in some form and probably don’t even know. Because nothing about that is okay in any way, their apology in my eyes is not sincere or accepted.

  33. binks says:

    I can’t really say I’ am surprised because I was never under the impression that Europe was this post racial utopia. Personally, I think heads should roll and red slips needed to be handed out especially over that tired excuse used over and over again concerning the N-word. NOT every black person use or condone the use of the N-word. Secondly why is this word always up for debate? I hear others and see other people call themselves and each other hideous words that other people don’t want to repeat so why is the N-word magical that needs to be repeating, rappers aren’t the voice of every black person mindset

  34. zimbabwechic says:

    …… no words

  35. mizvia says:

    appalled and speechless…I was hesitant to open the story because I didn’t want to believe this could happen. like someone said Rihanna’s pple need to come out with full force. Whether she likes it or not this issue is larger than her; unfortunately she’s repping us all.

  36. DivaFabulosa says:

    It doesn’t surprise me. People really thought racism was going to die down when Obama became president of this country, it only has gotten worse. I don’t pay ignorant comments like this any mind. Their the ones with small minds and are only limiting themselves to a certain group of people. I embrace all races and feel more free in this world, and am comfortable being around all walks of life. If feel sorry for people with like this and who live in ignorance, smh.

  37. Rhapsody says:

    I honestly won’t be satisfied with this matter until the writer and editor-in chief are fired or the whole magazine is shut down. The weak as water apology is definitely not enough, in my opinion, to deal with the matter. They severed a line that can only be fixed with severe repercussions. I need to know that: a.) this is as big a concern for them as it is for me and b.) such fear has been emitted through the whole company that all in it will know that there is no excuse for this to EVER happen again. I would definitely love to hear Rihanna’s opinion on this as well smh

  38. Rhapsody says:

    Also, how could you feel that a term that causes so much pain for an entire race of people could in anyway be turned into a joke? There is a huge difference in restriction someone’s freedom of speech and people being sensitive to being a hurtful, uncourteous, degrading, disrespectful publication. No one wants to be called degrading terminology, no matter how open and insensitive they are. Don’t buy into the ignorance because you agree with freedom of speech and not being sensitive. Common courtesy and mutual respect don’t take away from that.

    SN: As a community we need to quit airing our issues out for the world to see in documentaries, reality shows, etc. We need to deal with our own issues in house and become a stronger unit together. Remind everyone and ourselves why we deserve as much respect and reverence as any other race.

  39. Rhapsody says:

    You allow people in and let them make themselves at home and feel comfortable and stuff like this happens where it was “supposed to be a joke” that went wrong. People should fear saying things like that and being to comfortable with us. We turned that deplorable word into any ole everyday word and fooled ourselves into thinking using it amongst ourselves and changing the spelling, putting our own meaning and spins on it would devalue it and make it less painful to hear. It doesn’t. Black people, wake up! We have to make a conscious effort to stop using it and supporting people (including our own people) who use it. Ladies, we are not bitches! We are not female dogs! Referring to ourselves and each other like that doesn’t take the pain from the word or devalue it! Be mindful of how you present yourself while you ask for respect! Your clothing, actions, speech should all show that you want and demand respect. We must demand respect from ourselves and each other as a race, show we are united in the front, and then we can truly demand respect from everyone else! But it starts with home…

    Sorry ladies for my rants. Something I’ve been needing to get off my chest for a long time.

  40. disgusted.... says:

    I am disgusted, utterly disgusted! I can’t believe that such blatant racism was posted in this magazine! And if that editor thought that half A** apology was gonna cut it, he is very sadly mistaken.

  41. I read part of this post, then stopped DEAD in my tracks. This is a poor attempt to gain publicity or sell magazine at the expense of my lil SUPERSTAR FASHION GODDESS RIHANNA. Baby doll don’t SWEAT the SMALL ISH, This comes with the territory of GREATNESS MAMA. Focus on RihannaNavy sister girl.

  42. Ro says:

    I’m a black woman living in Holland (and this magazine ain’t even all that over here) and I must say that (white) Ducth people are one of the most ignorant people I’ve ever met. They have the most low level of insight in other cultures but judge before even making an attempt to get some info or say things that only they would consider as a joke… like the title of this magazine. And like Jasmine said The Dutch did start the slavery and their pretty nonchalant about it all.

  43. Anonymous says:

    @Anne racism is prevalent all over the world. If it wasn’t “n*ggab”itch” would not be in their vocabulary. Either you are naive and live in a bubble to think that racism is worst in the USA and not where you live or other countries similar or you are a racist yourself. Being more free to express themselves has nothing to do with anything. The point is that they published a racist article and pretended like they didn’t know it was racist when they were called out on it. No apology would have been issued if no one would have said anything. Wake up.

  44. Joslyn says:

    @anne I don’t hide behind “anonymous”. Didn’t know my name didn’t post.

  45. gagirl87 says:

    *Sigh* Racism still is alive and well and I wish people would STOP saying that if your UNDER 25 you don’t understand stuff like this and blah blah. Age has NOTHING to do with maturity as you can see from the above article…

  46. Most Dutch are well aware that this language would be inappropriate. Amsterdam (where this magazine is published) is a leading international center for the advertising industry and I believe the publication of this article was a well calculated risk. No one outside of the Netherlands reads the magazine anyway and now we all know the magazine exists. This is apart from the Dutch street credibility they’ve now garnered among those Dutch leaning to the right.

    Let’s be clear: the Dutch have no problem with Black people as long as Black people don’t have a problem with their default places in Dutch society–Black women as hyper-sexualized objects of desire and Black men as the little slave of Santa (Zwarte Piet). And yeah…if you don’t like it you can just get out!

  47. Frans merkx says:

    This is Holland for you, a lot of people out there think this country is so free and liberal but its not its the most racist Western country and happens all the time. I mean these people even celebrate some white guy called Sinta Klaus (Santa Claus) and his slave helper Zwarte Piet (Black Piet). I hope people see what this country stands for….. IGNORANT PEOPLE but then again what do you expect when they were the one’s who invented Apartheid and their favorite politician is a Far-Right-wing idiot called Geert Wilders

  48. Nessa B says:

    Excuse my language, but BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1. How in the world do you not see what’s going into your own magazine, especially a fashion magazine. Everything in a fashion magazine is carefully picked and scrutinized to make sure it is just right, before it is printed. How in the world can you see everything but this one article. True BS!!!!!

  49. Marthe says:

    the last sentence says : And now let’s hope she doesn’t beat anyone up in kintergarden. (it’s an article about clothing your kids like stars)

    This is a shame, a real shame for what I, in a neighbour country, and so many others with me stand for. The most popular politician in the Netherlands is an extreme-right man, he made a anti-islam film and almost openly hates everyone who’s not Dutch. It’s a crazy world, but we should all stand up, every color, every country, to fight against this and against this kind of persons with power over people. This is so wrong.

  50. NikkiBellaRay says:

    It’s so funny how we live in a world where folks think I’m sorry makes everything go away. NO it doesn’t. Sorry does change the scope of a situation 1. if it is genuine 2. also depending on the severity of the circumstance. This article was done with malice either for the sake of publicity, personal views etc. but whatever the basis it was outright disrespectful. Unfortunately this is the world we live in we just have to stand up for what we believe in and not be swayed by other people views of what we are. I’m sure Rihanna knows her worth and realizes that her accomplishments and existence makes her much more than this.

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