Howard made his comments during an interview with Access Hollywood Live on Monday (16Mar15), when he admitted he uses the term daily, as does his Empire boss Lee Daniels.

The Hustle & Flow star said, "If we're really gonna tackle racism, if we're gonna tackle bigotry... we need to tackle it dead on... We need to take the sutures, open up the problem and reach in and grab it, and since 'n**ga' is used in almost every conversation in most black neighbourhoods, why is it that we don't hear it on TV anymore?

"If this is something we use on a daily basis then let's address what it really means... It (the N-word) could mean love, sometimes it's a noun, sometimes it's a verb, sometimes it's an adjective. There's a spirit attached to it... My dad uses it, my brothers use it, I use it. I'm hoping maybe that I won't use it with my son, but I don't know if I'll be honest if I didn't use it with my son. My friends use it... It has taken on this term to us, but it's (been) blown out of proportion."

But Harvey, who has become a leading voice in African-American culture, insists there's no place for the N-word on TV.

He says, "I got that it's used, I got the use of it, I understand it, but putting it on network television is not a bright idea. It won't make the show better... You're gonna tick a couple of people off and then you gonna mess around and tick of a sponsor..., and now your little show ain't on the air anymore."

But Harvey would love to appear on the hit show, adding, "This is the episode I think we oughta do - Lucious (Howard's character) oughta say the N-word and I slap the hell outta him."