The word pause has many meanings. You could pause your dvd player, or your Xbox 360, pause your television (if you have TiVo), your iPod or any number of technological devices. But I’ve noticed recently, that “pause” has additional meaning among my boys. Let me provide a context.
Yo, I’ve been working on this website and I really need you to get behind me and put in some work – PAUSE
Pause here, much like the phrase “no homo,” is a precautionary term, used to dispel any misconceptions that what you said could be construed as a homosexual comment. Out of context, “get behind me and put in some work,” could mean… well, all types things. At first, I thought “pause” was something regional, specific to North Carolina. But I recently returned from a trip to New York and Martha’s Vineyard where literally every other black person I met had integrated “pause” into their standard vocabulary.
Here are the issues it raises. It has been my experience that rates of homophobia are exceptionally sharp within the black community. With the advent of awareness of the “down low brother” thanks to Oprah and other mainstream media outlets putting black gay men at the forefront of popular culture, is this linguistic development homophobic backlash? Are Black men more eager than ever to prove their masculinity and heterosexuality? Or is “pause” and “no homo” (the title of one of Camron’s recent mix tapes) just a passing fad; an addition to the vast Hip-Hop vernacular that will fade into obscurity in a few years.
This is my first post, so come on. Let me have it.