Our culture is our history
So in 2017 surely you’ve heard or witnessed cultural appropriation. Or maybe you’ve been living under a rock. Well its evident that signs of blackness is everywhere. From our local markets to public landmarks it seems that the world has mimicked our culture deeming it acceptable. Or have they? Some will argue although they use our culture, they don’t use us. Need further explanation? See while it’s cool to “act black” it seems much cooler to only do so when the struggle of actually being black is nowhere to be found.
What is Cultural Appropriation
Are you following us? Let’s go further for clarity. Cultural appropriation directly refers to the power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed. The oppression in subject is by that dominant group.
Some people like to cover it up and call it culture exchange. We call that bullsiht for lack of better words . Culture exchange would be a great cover up but instead the lack systematic power dynamic is evident.
This is a sensitive yet complicated topic. It starts with our history and includes our present and future as we fight to put a end to oppression.
Why it’s not just influence
Let’s take Kylie Jenner and her “Corn Rows” for an example.
To be honest we all know who and what culture Kylie was influenced by. Some will argue she started a trend but most know she’s appropriating a culture. And as it pertains to black culture , corn rows is a hairstyle with so much history. For some its a quick fix and others it acts as a way to strengthen hair. Not to forget in black culture corn rows is a unified hairstyle that once was marked by ridicule, reminded us of slavery but most importantly it doesn’t let us forget where we come from. So though it’s just a trendy hairstyle for Kylie Jenner the hairstyle holds history for black women.
And the appropriation continues …
As if hair wasn’t enough let’s discuss music and dance. Let’s take on Miley Cyrus twerking. A staple dance in the black community made famous by “hip hop” video girls that was at first frowned up on and labeled inappropriate. Once upon a time videos were actually banned for too much twerking. Furthomore as it pertains to a black women, it’s culture. It’s just a dance. It’s celebrated just as black women curves. In recent years we’ve seen difference variations of the dance including a “classy ” “Uh oh uh oh o no no ” version made famous by Beyoncé.
Continuing, did you know men appropriate culture as well? Look at Justin Beibier , Eminem and Justin Tiberlake. All three men have taken a sound that identifies with a race and struggle they have little or no knowledge about. Given the chance to walk a mile in a black mans shoe, I doubt they’d take it. It unfortunate that our music, fashion sense and hairstyles are all up for grabes. Though we don’t mind sharing , Lil Kim said it best “Get Your Own Shit , why you riding mine .”
In closing at the very least we know we have the responsibility to make yourself aware of what’s going on.
Stop making other cultures invisible under our society’s definition of “influence”. It’s our duty to make room for all of us to thrive by enjoying life and culture with our appropriation.