Theologically, there is a difference between profanity and cursing. To curse is to pronounce harm.
I agree with this. If the N-word is being used by Black CHH artists to cause harm and therefore curse others — this is not loving. It is not Christ-like and therefore it can be detrimental to the overall content of the message. If it is being used in reference to oneself or close companions — I see no issue and to be honest I have yet to see or hear an example of the former.
My thought process is a mixture of personal conviction, freedom, and all of Romans 14, which you should read here. Romans 14:1–3 reads:
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.
This is important to note — for God has accepted them. If we are accepted by God then, “we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:8.) Another illustration of this can be found later in the same passage in verses 5 and 6:
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
Do you see what I’m getting at? In good faith and a clear conscience two individuals, who both follow the Lord, can have differing opinions on a matter, and can still love and worship Him and both can be accepted by God.
In the grand spectrum of life, a Black CHH artist choosing to say the N-word or choosing to refrain from it isn’t a big deal — neither is it a big deal if a CHH artist decides to abstain from eating meat or if another does not. We should not and cannot let small disputable matters divide us as Christians. What we should focus on is our relationship with Jesus and if we are living a life dedicated to Him and are carrying out The Great Commission.
For some listeners when artists use the N-word or other “secular” tidbits of language it can resonate with them and create an environment of familiarity between artist and listener — it can help make their music relatable. On the other hand, to non-Black listeners, it may be a distraction and I understand that completely.
If CHH artists feel personally convicted to not use the word — then so be it and if other artists feel free to use it — so be it. Just because something makes you uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong. We also have to remind ourselves that we are the consumers — not the content creators. If we find a problem with the content then maybe we should spend our time and money elsewhere. However, I urge those who find it an issue to not let this be a deciding factor on whether a particular artist is really preaching and living out the Gospel or not.