Oprah: I think y'all are!
Sean: I think we've moved on. We're just doing the best we can.
Oprah: As an elder, I have such a problem with the N word. I was down in Mississippi yesterday, and when people there use the N word—no matter how many times rap has tried to make the word okay—it's still derogatory.
Sean: We're clear with that. But we don't use the word in that way. For us, it's an endearing term. I know it might sound crazy.
Oprah: It does sound crazy. Black people beat their children because the slave masters beat them. We took the habits of the slave master, and we destroyed our children in many ways. The N word was the slave master's terminology for us. I know that's an elder's point of view. I'm just asking you to consider that the N word was the last word every black man heard as he was being lynched.
Sean: I will consider it. I just want you to understand that when we use the word, there's no malice in it.
Oprah: I do understand. I just don't want whites to ever think it's okay to use that word. So let's move on. What's your favorite meal?
Sean: Breakfast. French toast, scrambled eggs with cheese, turkey bacon.
Oprah: That's Gayle King's menu. Do you like to cook?
Sean: Yes, and breakfast is my specialty. One day I'll make you breakfast.
Oprah: When you opened your Sean John store on Fifth Avenue, what did that feel like?
Sean: It felt like black history. You see, our generation really wants to make you all proud of us. That's the craziest thing about it. We want to know that we're doing a good job. We look up to you.
Oprah: Opening on Fifth Avenue was huge.
Sean: Yes. The same year the store opened, I won a "menswear designer of the year" award. Something that began as a hip-hop brand is now a globally recognized brand. We've proved that black designers can be successful.
Oprah: Have you always loved fashion?
Sean: Yes, and I was blessed with an eye for detail. I was also designing for a community that doesn't get serviced.
Oprah: Martin Luther King said not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great—because greatness is determined by service. So my philosophy is that whatever you do, see it as service. It will be much more meaningful and powerful.
Sean: It's about giving. I think that's why we're put on this earth. I also learned that from talking to Russell Simmons. He has a way of talking without preaching at you.
Oprah: I just had a lightbulb moment—that rap...it's kids who suddenly became really successful. It's like the first time you get a whole lot of money. You're not sure what to do with it.
Sean: We go spend it. But now we're learning about annuities and portfolios. It's my fault that there's a misperception of who I am: People think all I do is party and buy diamonds. But I do like nice things and I make no apologies for that.
We Hear You!