In what might be the first case of appropriation of white culture, a black man is trying to profit off something started by white people. As soon as the Supreme Court ruled that racial slurs and derogatory symbols could be trademarked, a Mississippi man rushed to file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the word “nigga.”
I know what’s going on in your head. You’re probably thinking that some white supremacist, Confederacy-loving Caucasian finally got a chance to fulfill his lifelong wet dream of owning niggas.
Nope—it’s a black guy.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, Curtis Bordenave—a branding consultant residing in Columbus, Miss.—was the first applicant since the Supreme Court struck down a federal law in June that excluded derogatory terms from being trademarked or patented. Bordenave had tried to undercut the law in 2008 by trademarking “nig” and “g-ga,” but his application for “nig” was denied.
Yes, you read that correctly. This dude literally tried to put “nigga” on layaway. Isn’t that an R. Kelly song? I distinctly remember him singing “let’s go haaalf on a niiiggaaa ... ,” but I might be wrong.
“We would have been the first to acquire the mark within the law, which we thought was fantastic and fascinating and thoughtful,” Bordenave said. “We were sour about that. We felt that we were cut out of an opportunity to create a brand that would have changed the whole meaning of this word.”
Bordenave’s application was soon followed by Steven Maynard of Snowflake Enterprises LLC, who filed to trademark the swastika because ... wypipo.
These developments have led me to prepare a few of my own applications, which include:
- Kentucky Fried Unseasoned Chicken: For the Caucasians who show up at the cookout.
- Cracka Ass Crackers: For white people who think saltines are too spicy.
- Wypipo Wipes: When you realize you’re full of shit, but white fragility leaves you butt-hurt.
- No More White Tears: Theme song: “I’m going to wash that hate right out of my hair!”
- Becky Spray: A variation of Mace that repels white women.
Bordenave’s “nigga” brand will apply to clothing, games, accessories, fragrances, charitable fundraising, humor and comedic performances, television show production, bumper stickers, campaign buttons and mobile apps.
“Because the word is such a well-known word without a brand, without a logo, it actually has the ability to become a famous mark almost instantly,” he said. “Our message is bigger than our brand. Our message is, ‘Every shade, every gender unite.’”
If I had written this story at any other time, I would have concluded it with “this nigga ... ”
But I don’t want to get sued for trademark infringement.
Read more at the Clarion-Ledger.