‘I’m actually black’: AWKWARD moment radio host is accused of being white, co-opting black culture

“CBS News Sunday Morning” contributor Nancy Giles found herself in an inept “open mouth, insert foot” moment on Tuesday when she accused hip hop deejay Jay Smooth of being a white man trying to “co-optblack culture.

And imagine the awkwardness when he replied, “I’m actually black.”

Giles and Jay Smooth were guests on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” and the discussion centered on the controversial decision by Starbucks to encourage its baristas to give customers a cup that says “Race Together,” in an effort designed to foster discussions and exchange ideas on race relations.

“I can’t not tease Jay about the kinda, like, brotha way he was trying to talk,” Giles said. “Like, ‘Hey,’ with the rap music in the background, and, like, down with the people.”

“I’m a rap guy!” Smooth responded.

“Yeah, I know, but it’s another interesting, funny thing about race,” she said. “Like, there would be some people that would feel that you co-opted something like that, and other people might feel like, ‘that’s his background and that’s really cool too… ‘ These are conversations, you know, ‘Yo, like ya know, yeah, if somebody takes my wallet,’ I mean it’s really interesting.”

Clearly, she was not aware that the deejay — his real name is John Randolph — was born to a black father and a white mother.

“It’s also interesting because I’m actually black, but you assumed otherwise,” Jay Smooth calmly replied. “And this is the sort of awkwardness we can look forward to at Starbucks across America.

Game. Set. Match.

Giles handled it well — or at least she kept babbling well. But it couldn’t change the truth — that she didn’t know what she was talking about.

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Tom Tillison

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