A week after Bill Maher’s horrifyingly candid use of the n-word on his HBO show, Real Time, his guests got even more candid in explaining his wrongdoings on live television this Saturday. Most prominently, rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube really gave Maher the business, not intentionally throwing him under the bus but creating a conversation based on Maher’s actions.
In an interview last Friday with Senator Ben Sasse, a white male Republican from Nebraska, Maher made a joke that instead of working in the fields of Nebraska, he’s a “house n*****.” HBO has responded by saying the comment was “completely inexcusable and tasteless.”
“What made you think that it was cool to say that?” Ice Cube starts. Maher responds with an uncomfortable shuffle in his chair and another apology. “I accept your apology, but I still think we need to get to the root of the psyche,” Ice Cube continued.
“It’s a word that has been used against us — it’s like a knife, man. And you can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool. It’s been used as a weapon against [the black community]. By white people. And we’re not gonna let that happen again. That’s our word now. That’s our word now. And you can’t have it back.
“I like your show. I like you. But I think this is a teachable moment, not just to you but to the people that are watching right now.”
Ice Cube closed out his extremely thoughtful and clear message to uproarious applause from the audience, while Maher simply nodded his head and looked down at his desk. They continued to discuss Ice Cube’s new record, where he says all that’s changed in terms of police brutality since his first album with N.W.A. almost 25 years ago is “the calendar.”
You can watch the full interview and discussion in the video above.