I’m Black Everyday : The Appropriation of Black Culture

” What would America be like if we love black people as much as we love Black Culture” -Amandla Stenberg

Being that it’s black history month and I haven’t posted in a while, I though what better way to try and express myself, my values, and my beliefs than through my blog. By no means, do I consider myself a great writer. In fact, I struggle a lot with writing and find that sometimes, I just can’t express myself in ways I wish I could, but that’s beside the point. Lately my mind has been muddled with shock and disbelief (although who am I kidding) at some of the crazy shit going on in the world. I have so much I want so say as an African American woman, while still having no words. But the hell with that! And so, I bring you a new rambling segment i’m calling “I’m Black Everyday”.

First things first, cultural appropriation is real. As, Amandla Stenberg said in her powerful video Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows, “the line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange are always going to be blurred”. But in case you didn’t know, “appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves,”. In other words, cultural appropriation in America can be defined as when a dominant group (white pepo) take different aspects of cultural property from a minority group (African Americans and Native Americans to name a few) without fully understanding it’s historical and cultural significance. Claiming cultural appropriation doesn’t exist is the epitome of white privilege. If I had a dollar for every time someone tried defending cultural appropriation, I would rich enough to produce a biopic on Queen Elizabeth starring Viola Davis…

Lately, the appropriation of black culture seems to be everywhere. From twerking to bantu knots, people love appropriating black culture, particularly Hollywood. I can’t seem to open any of my social media accounts without seeing a Kardashian in Cornrows: we get it, Black culture is popular, but it’s not yours to claim. Even more times I’ve been confronted with white people receiving praise and credits of innovation for hairstyles that are cultural staples in the black community, meanwhile people of color are criticized for the exact same look. For instance, take Miley Cyrus’ VMA look where she rocked platinum blonde dreads, according to Hollywood Life, “those dreads [were] EVERYTHING!”. But in similar fashion, Giulianna Rancic, Fashion Police host criticized Zendaya’s faux dread look stating she probably “smells like patchouli oil” or “weed”. Look, before y’all start coming for me, the issue at hand is not who can do what with their hair, but instead, is a matter of bias and stereotypes ascribed to people of color.

African Americans are some of the most influential people in this country, especially within the entertainment industry, and it is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. However, African Americans are still one of the most oppressed groups under a system of institutionalized racism, mass incarceration, and discriminatory hiring practices related to predominately Black hairstyles (*sips tea*). So, regardless of whether white people appropriate Black hairstyles, the truth of the matter is, as Paul Mooney stated, “everybody wanna be a nigga, but nobody wanna be a nigga”. So ask yourself this question…



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