Woman Is The Nigger of The World: Why Did John Lennon Write This Song?

Adebayo Adeniran
4 min readNov 12, 2023

And other controversial songs by white artists.

John Lennon via Wikimedia commons

John Lennon was a committed fighter for racial equality.

At least by all accounts.

When a former enforcer for a slumlord in Notting Hill, London, became a major advocate for racial equality in the United Kingdom, the most iconic Beatle quickly latched on to Michael X and became a huge supporter of his.

But Lennon’s activism took a backseat to his prolific song writing abilities.

You would be hard pressed to find a better songwriter in the history of popular music than Liverpool’s greatest son.

When you think of the ones he wrote with McCartney: Come together, Hey Jude, Let it be, Yellow Submarine, I wanna hold your hand, Yesterday, Love me do and you think of his solo efforts: Jealous guy, Happy Christmas, war is over, woman and not forgetting his magnum opus —Imagine, it is almost beyond dispute that his pen game was miles ahead of the rest.

And it is precisely we must ask why he wrote and performed the song, woman is the nigger of the world.

Even if the song was meant to be a feminist anthem, the very title did, without question, undermine his commitment to racial equality and everything he stood for:

Woman is the nigger of the world
Yes she is, think about it
Woman is the nigger of the world
Think about it, do something about it

We make her paint her face and dance
If she won’t be aslave, we say that she don’t love us
If she’s real, we say she’s trying to be a man
While putting her down we pretend that she is above us
Woman is the nigger of the world, yes she is
If you don’t believe me take a look to the one you’re with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Ah yeah, better scream about it
We make her bear and raise our children
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother hen
We tell her home is the only place she should be
Then we complain that she’s too unworldly to be our friend
Woman is the nigger of the world, yes she is
If you don’t believe me take a look to the one you’re with
Oh woman is the slave to the slaves
Yeah, alright

We insult her everyday on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or…

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Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible