Say Dat! 10 Black Words That Went Mainstream

November 20, 2012 ‐ By

A couple of months ago, I was watching an interview with Michaela Angela Davis. In it, she discussed the images of black women and how black women specifically, but black people in general advance the culture–as in pop culture. When you look at the history of American music, you need look no further than Jazz and then Hip Hop to see that this is true. But aside from music, blacks have contributed to the national lexicon as well. If you don’t believe me, check out the following words.




This word, referring to the way light hits flashy, often gaudy, jewelry, was first made popular in 1999 when BG and the Cash Money Millionaires  released a song by the name of “Bling Bling.” When you think about it, that’s pretty clever. This ideophone, a word or sound(s) that describes a complete idea, undoubtedly led to the word’s popularity and staying power. Before you knew it every other rapper was using the phrase and then it really took off when mainstream artists started saying it. Eventually it was added to the  Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in 2002 and the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2006. Politician and two-time presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney even used it in 2008, at a campaign event.

In researching this story, I actually forgot how great “Bling Bling” was, so just in case you need a refresher course as well, here’s the video that started it all.

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • JohnSocash

    I coulda sworn white people were the ones who came up with the N-word

  • JohnSocash

    Why are blacks taking credit for Swag a terrible word, when did words become racial? What are “Black” Words and “White” Words. We will never stop the resegregation of our nation if we continue to make lists like this

  • TJ

    the word bootylicious was around long before beyonce was, retard

  • pickneychile

    Omg I hate the words swag and wanksta…eww. People also need to stop using the word “cray”

  • We need to put Ratchet on this list, then promptly bury it! I’m so sick of people using that fricking word! Everything is supposedly ratchet when it really isn’t! And I’m happy I’m not the only person who hates the word Swag! Seriously it’s not cute especially when people post pics of lil kids talking bout look at lil Pookie Swag! Lil Pookie can’t say 2 words fool, how does he have Swag? Smh

  • Not to sound rude, but when white people start using these words I get the same feeling when a parent tries to be “Down” or use lingo their children are using. After that it’s officially dead.

    • I absolutely agree with this ^^ ….once white people start using these “slang” terms, it just becomes corny. Usually though, once mainstream (white people) catch on to these terms, they are pretty much played out anyway.

    • OKAY!! Exactly what happened to “Grillz” too! LOL!

  • I knew bling bling was too done when my bf’s white grandma started saying it.

  • Solo40

    I get tired of most of those words, but I actually DESPISE the word “jawn”! And I really had to do a double take when watching the news one day and a caucasion reporter used the word “dissed” and wasn’t quoting what somene else said. She was serious in using it on her own accord. Oh and don’t forget Bossip and their disgusting reference “gut full of human” when referring to a pregnant person. That is just low class and gross sounding. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing and they degrade it with ignorance.

    • that is low class and babies aren’t carried in one’s ‘guts’

    • Tamz

      Gut full of human? Really? That sounds ignorant, truly.

    • They used to ALWAYS say “Momma Bey and her gut full of camel”! That used to p!ss me off so bad!!

  • What about scrub & chicken head…I admit I have used scrub back in the day.

  • mspurplerain

    What about the slang “Hater” which originated from “Playa Hating”? Lol

  • Naffy70

    How you gonna bring up Booty Call and not mention Bill Bellamy? Hello?

  • ang@france

    the first time i heard “bootylicious” was on a different world! i also heard snoop say it on “dre day” 20 years ago.

  • Anne

    That picture for #8, ha! And you forgot the modern usage of “ghetto”.

  • ANTMilf

    What about “Baby Mama/Daddy”? Ever since that song “That just my baby daddy” came out in 1996/97, I’ve been hearing it ever since.

    • rzakia

      I cringe the most when I hear white people saying “baby mama/daddy” especially if they’re saying it to a black person. And I hate it even more when black people say it in the company of whites. Drives me crazy.

      • ANTMilf

        I was 14 when that song came out and back then I didn’t want to be a baby mama, glad I’m not a baby mama, had my daughter while married to my late husband.

  • JustSayin

    So just to be clear… people need to make up their minds. On one hand it is okay to differentiate from the other races when we want to claim a word as “Black.” But; then there will be an article tomorrow talking about how we need to get rid of this “stigma.” Pick a side Noire.

  • sassybuttclassy

    How about “ratchet”… that’s becoming a seriously over used word.
    oh and I just knew “swag” was going to be on here but I thought you would have that commercial with the white couple rapping about how their minivan had “swag” that’s when that word was dead to me

  • Candacey Doris

    I think we need to hold a funeral for all of these words. Not to mention the multi page format you guys seem to be using for every other article!

  • IllyPhilly

    What’s with all the clicks? No need to click through I know at least half the list. Bling, Jiggy, bootylicious, swag, pimpilicious, slore, homie, etc. Lol

  • Alohilani

    I abhor slang!