Now we can rent a 'negro'.
Not a word I've ever used.
It's Damali Ayo's word. And part of the title of her new book: How to Rent a Negro.
She also has a Web site at www.rent-a-negro.com
Ayo, who is African-American, wrote the book to make a point.
"What's exciting about the title to me," she told talk show host Bill O'Reilly recently, "is that I use the word 'negro' very deliberately. That's because the kinds of behaviors we're talking about in the book should be outdated, just as the word negro."
Of course, you really can't rent a negro, the 33-year-old artist told me. This is the author's attempt at satire, and Ayo's way of saying: "I wanted to be treated as a person. I mean, don't you?"
She uses the Michael Jackson case as an example. When the verdict came down, Ayo believes people wanted to know what she thought because of the color of her skin.
"People expect me to have an opinion that's race based, rather than justice based, or my opinion of pedophilia or any of those things," says Ayo.
So from now on, Damili wants to get paid, and she says, so should you if you're African-American: $75 for a 'black' opinion; $150 if you want to call her 'sista'.
Bottom line: She doesn't really need the money, especially if the book does well in sales. What Damili Ayo really wants is to get people thinking and talking.
Talking about race.
I can tell you this, it got conversations going in our newsroom.