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Black leaders: End N-word in entertainment

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NEW: Black leaders want to stop use of "n-word"
• Jesse Jackson: "We want to give our ancestors a present"
• Michael Richards on Jackson's radio show: "Shattered" by rant
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LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Black leaders challenged the entertainment industry, including rap artists, actors and major studios, to stop the use of the racial slur that triggered the scandal involving "Seinfeld" comic actor Michael Richards.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader, and others said Monday they will meet with TV networks, film companies and musicians to discuss banning the racial slur that is a derogatory term for blacks. They also sought an effort by the public to stop using the term.

"We want to give our ancestors a present," Jackson said at a news conference. "Dignity over degradation."

Jackson also asked the public not to buy a DVD box set of the seventh season of the TV show "Seinfeld" that was released last week.

Richards, who played the wacky neighbor Kramer on "Seinfeld," triggered outrage with a November 17 racial rant against two black men when he was heckled during a stand-up comedy routine at the Laugh Factory nightclub in West Hollywood. A patron recorded the outburst with a video camera phone.

Richards has made several apologies, including one Sunday on Jackson's syndicated radio program, in which he has said he is not a racist and was motivated by anger. (Watch Richards on the radio show Video)

At the press conference, comedian Paul Mooney said he has used the "n-word" numerous times during stand-up performances but will no longer do so after watching Richards' rant.

"He's my Dr. Phil," the black comedian said. "He's cured me." (Watch Mooney say why he's done with the word Video)

Asked about free-speech issues, Jackson said the word is "unprotected."

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, charged that only situations such as the Richards incident turn mainstream media attention to issues involving the black community.

"This is not simply about whether or not the black community forgives or forgets, this is about understanding that this is pervasive, that this happens in all of our institutions, one way or the other," Waters said.

Laugh Factory owner Jaime Masada extended an invitation to Richards to perform on December 4 at the club to apologize to the guests who attended the November 17 performance.

"He has no intention of going back there and performing right now," Richards' publicist Howard Rubenstein said.

Masada suggested Richards donate at least $500,000 (euro381,270) to charity for every time he unleashed the derogatory term. Masada also said the comedy club will ban comedians from using all "hateful words" including the "n-word."

"We want to be the first place in the world to ask all of the comedians if they go on stage and use the 'n-word,' (it) comes out of their paycheck," Masada said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Press conference

Comedian Paul Mooney, Jesse Jackson, Rep. Maxine Waters and the NAACP's Willis Edwards speak at a press conference.

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