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John Mayer, ghetto pass? This is why certain celebs shouldn't be allowed to eat fresh food.

John Mayer, whose music I like liked until this evening, bragged to Playboy Magazine (caution: NSFW language)in an interview published this week that black people love him. As "proof," he offered the example that he was asked recently how it felt to have a "ghetto pass" - an accolade he takes a self-deprecating position on by saying if he truly, truly had a "ghetto pass" he'd be able to call it a "n**ger pass." This is all covered about 2/3 of the way down the page if you follow that link to the interview.

In case you don't know, folks inclined to use the term "ghetto pass," AKA "hood pass," use it to describe the honorary "ghetto" status bestowed by the mysterious Ghetto Tribunal on folks whose appearance, background, and primary lifestyle are all the direct opposite of "ghetto." The term is also a reference to a "pass" for those opposite folks described in the previous paragraph to navigate the "ghetto" unharmed and be chummy along the way with all those full-time ghetto residents.

Naturally, I think it's dumb. But what I think is dumber is when folks like Mayer use "ghetto pass" to brag about how close they are to black people, as though "ghetto" and "black" are synonymous.

The Playboy interviewer alludes to the black people Mayer is close to: the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Common, etc.

What's the most prominent thing all three of those guys has in common (no pun intended on the latter's name)? Not that they're black, or that they're rappers, but that they're all very wealthy. I've been a fan of all these guys' music (including Mayer's...till tonight), but I'm gonna guess that the last time any one of them spent significant time in a poor ghetto/'hood was for a food drive, or the filming of a music video.

So considering Mayer's Tarantino-esque willingness to toss around "n**ger" so loosely, his apparent assumption that ghettos and black communities are one and the same, his apparent ignorance of the fact that "ghetto" once defined neighborhoods that European Jews were forced to live in, and in modern terms defines a residential neighborhood populated by a predominant ethnic/racial/cultural group, it's clear he does not have a "ghetto pass," but rather an "out-of-touch rich guy pass."

When John Mayer starts hanging around in certain parts of South Los Angeles, rather than Hollywood, North St. Louis, MO, Centerville in Camden, NJ, or say Overtown, here in Miami, and he can hang out in those places without getting beaten like a piñata, then he claim to have a ghetto pass.

PS. Some people are going to read that interview and hone in on the fact that Mayer doesn't date black women. Don't care, don't care, don't care. To each his own in that regard. Like my uncle used to say, doesn't matter what color your partner is 'cause when the lights go out we're all black.


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I can separate the man from the occupation.

I've always thought that Mayer was a complete and utter ass.

It won't stop me from thinking he's a brilliant musician who's music I really happen to like.

Do you like Michael Jackson?

James B.

Wavemancali, touche. I do like Michael Jackson's tunes, and like I've said in past blog posts just 'cause I like the late Mr. Jackson's music I'd never have let him babysit for me.

So I guess I can still listen to John Mayer's tunes. Hmmm. Maybe I will...after I've taken a few weeks to "forget" some of that Playboy interview.

Adrian Ruhi

I feel the same was as Wavemancali. I'm the biggest Kanye West fan in the world. Doesn't mean I think he's a great person.

I think nowadays, we expect our rock stars to be sanitized. When did the rockstars of yesteryear ever apologize for being messed up people?

Not that our favorite musicians shouldn't strive to be better humans. But I'm willing to accept my musicians as flawed... it often translates to better music!


I don't think I like him any better than the idea of there being places that if you aren't the right .. what? color? you'll be "getting beaten like a piñata"


You can get a "pass" to be rude and act like an ass?
Who knew!


It's sad that translating acceptance by any group can be called any kind of pass. The worst part about his statement is that fact that he makes it sound like only blacks have lived in ghettos as you stated with your point about Jewish, Italians and early immigrants living in similar urban areas. I do agree that many talented people have seriously flawed characters and people aren't perfect but we've come a long way to let poor people skills be an acceptance for racism. My son has Asperger's and he does not make fun of people or put them down. In fact any time he's made a negative remark it's only been when he does not realize it's rude. He's a child, Mayer isn't... he knows better.

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