premiere: mh the verb is a “ninja” in space

March 11, 2020
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How do you feel about the N-word, personally? While some of us say it every day to “keep our teeth white” like comedian Paul Mooney and legislate who else can and cannot say it online, some community members — usually our elders — frown upon its use altogether.

Rather than callously dismissing the feelings and opinions of the generations who paved the way for our Black present, rapper and producer MH The Verb engages with the gripe and offers a linguistic solution in song form with his new single “Ninja”: “[Ninja] was inspired by the conversations I’ve had with the respected elders in my community who expressed their frustration with the overuse of the words ‘Nigga’ and ‘Bitch’ in hip-hop. The feeling is that those words have been normalized and used by people outside of the black community and promoted to undermine our self-worth,” he says.

“Ninja” is the title track from MH’s newly-released album Space Ninja. Created with his band/collective ArtHouse95, on Space Ninja uses Afrofuturistic themes to make social and political commentary about the times we live in. “When I wrote the lyrics, it was originally meant to empower young black people by giving them an alternative phrase to use when speaking positively about themselves.” The video for the song, directed by Peter Ten features MH, rocking an astronaut’s helmet shadow boxing and sparring in solitude in an abandoned naval base in California.

If “whitey is on the moon” then why can’t ninjas be in space?