Time magazine has once again “Columbused” a slang term that originated in the black community. Its explanation of the term “bae” is a poor attempt to explain black terminology to the masses. The magazine is a repeat offender in this area, since it has also “explained” the term “twerking” to its readership.
It’s almost as though the mainstream media believes that these terms only become popular once they’ve been used by white public figures. Curious. This type of media frenzy over new “black slang” isn’t new. It’s an age-old phenomenon for “black proverbs” to be co-opted by the mainstream media—often with no credit given to the originators. In case Time wants to explain any other black slang, we’ve compiled a handy guide:
“Basic” is a modern term for “simple,” “pedestrian” or “common.”
Usage: “Her choice of attire is so basic. But it’s Keyshia Cole, so I expect nothing better.”
2. Turnt up.
When one is participating in celebratory activities, such as a party, one can be “turnt up.” It can be argued that this term comes from the Roscoe Dash song “All the Way Turnt Up.”
Usage: “I’m gonna be more turnt up tonight than Solange in an elevator. All these Jay Zs better keep it cute.”
3. Hit that “Nae-Nae.”
Usage: “He wasn’t that cute until he hit that Nae-Nae … ”
4. Or nah …
Often posed as a rhetorical question, this term is used to confirm a future activity.
Usage: “Do you think this selfie is sickening enough to post to Instagram, or nah … ?”
5. For the gawds.
A secular phrase used to describe something or someone that has reached the pinnacle of greatness.
Usage: “My hair is laid for the gawds!”
Usage: “Beyoncé’s outfits always slay the game. Your favorite could never.”
When one can no longer be engaged by an issue, one has become “unbothered.”
Usage: “So are you gonna take Robin Thicke back after he released that whole album about you?” “Girl, I’m so unbothered.”
8. You mad?
A sarcastic and often ingenious remark to persuade someone to express his or her ill feelings. This term is used to taunt another person and potentially make him or her feel even angrier.
Usage: “Why would you make a meme out of me?” “Because it just got 50 likes. You mad?”
9. Turn down for what?!
Turn-down philosopher Lil Jon poses a significant rhetorical question with this complement to the term “turnt up.” There are so many things a party of people should still be taking advantage of to keep the good times rolling, turning down would be illogical.
Usage: “I think I’m going to leave the party early.” “Turn down for what?” “You right, you right. Where the drinks at?”
10. Stay woke.
Said to those who are already conscious, this term refers to paying keen attention to a phenomenon or information that often goes overlooked. This is often applied to conspiracy theories.
Usage: “The government is tracking your whereabouts with your smartphone, so your bae might not know where you’re creeping at 2 a.m., but Obama does. Stay woke.”
A celebratory exclamation of extreme excitement or approval. Often used when one is referring to one’s attire, hairstyle or other aesthetics. One can also use it after hearing positive news.
Usage: When your direct deposit kicks in on time: “Yaaaassssss!”
12. I don’t have time.
One’s patience for the particular subject or activity at hand has been depleted. One has not literally run out of time, yet one refuses to make any more room in one’s mental space to deal with the matter. This term is similar to “unbothered.”
Usage: “VH1 did it with TLC, so now Lifetime has to do biopics with Tyra’s Next Top Model as Whitney and some Cheetah Girl as Aaliyah, and listen, I don’t have time.”
13. Not here for it.
Denotes one’s refusal to dedicate effort or attention to something that one deems undesirable. Similar to “I don’t have time,” this term limits the amount of energy one spends on a subject or activity unless it is impossible to avoid.
Usage: “Keri Hilson has a new album? I’m not here for it.”
Refers to a person or thing that is so remarkable that he/she/it has the ability to make others jealous or mentally or physically ill in the most extreme cases.
Usage: “Nicki Minaj’s newest freestyle is everything. Iggy Azalea wishes she was that sickening.”
15. Keep it cute.
To abstain from activity that might be considered wild, unsavory or ratchet.
Usage: “I can’t watch Love & Hip Hop anymore. No one knows how to keep it cute.”