The incident involved WLBT journalist and meteorologist Barbie Bassett, who was fired from her job on March 24 for saying, “Fo’ shizzle, my nizzle” during a television newscast earlier this month.
Bassett, who is white, was making a joke about a potential Snoop Dogg tattoo and used the term to express enthusiasm at the idea. The phrase is a bastardization of “for sure, my n-gga” popularized by the Doggystyle rapper.
Charlamagne Tha God addressed the incident during The Breakfast Club‘s recent Rumor Report segment and seemed confused as to how the phrase was grounds for termination.
“She can’t say ‘fo shizzle, my nizzle’?” Charlamagne asked. “I guess ’cause ‘nizzle’ is derivative of the n-word? I’m saying that in context, I didn’t mean to say it … I’m not using that word.”
DJ Envy chimed in and said he didn’t believe Bassett should have been terminated, which Charlamagne agreed with.
“I don’t think she should’ve been fired,” he added. “She might not even know what ‘nizzle’ means, yo. Like, come on, we got to, like, stop, man. That’s not a reason to fire that woman.
“That’s the thing with Hip Hop, man. Hip Hop is so big and so mainstream and it’s just like, who can consume it and who can’t? Who can repeat slang and who can’t? She might not have any idea, she just thinks she’s sounding cool repeating Snoop Dogg!”
WLBT wouldn’t confirm or deny that Bassett had been fired when approached by local paper the Clarion Ledger, but WLBT Vice President and General Manager Ted Fortenberry said: “As I am sure you can understand, WLBT is unable to comment on personnel matters.”
However, this isn’t the first time Bassett has offended the Black community. She previously issued an apology after being reprimanded by the television station for referencing a co-worker’s grandmother as her “grandmammy” on air last October.
The term “mammy” carries racist connotations and was historically used to refer to a Black woman who served as a nurse to a white family during slavery.
“Last Friday on our newscast Today at 11, I used a term that was offensive to many in our audience and to my coworkers here at WLBT,” Bassett said at the time. “Though not intentional, I now understand how my comment was both insensitive and hurtful. I have apologized to Carmen Poe.”
She continued: “Now, I would like to apologize to you. That is not the heart of who I am. And for that, I humbly ask for your forgiveness and I apologize to everyone I have offended.
“I will learn from this and participate in training so I can better understand our history and our people. I can’t mend the hurt my comment caused. I pray you’ll forgive me and that you’ll extend grace through this awful mistake.”