School's In Podcast: Cultural Appropriation

The next podcast for School's In is on a topic I'm kinda excited for because it's something that we all need to be aware of and that's cultural appropriation.  I've seen enough history specials and read enough history books to know that black people created their own culture when our culture was taken aware due to slavery.

And I feel the need to say here that because people mention slavery it doesn't mean that anyone is blaming any one person walking the earth today for slavery.

No, slavery is no one's fault but we're living in a world where African American women feel the pressure of straightening their hair to seem more acceptable with harsh chemicals and heat to assimilate into the culture they were brought up into.

Look up Jessica Sims who became a discharged Navy vet because of her locs.

Melphine EvansFarryn Johnson who was fired because she had blonde hair and "black people don't have blonde hair", and the story that stands out the most to me is the story of Rhonda Lee she cut off the damage of her hair and was sporting an afro.  How is this any different than a pixie cut?

It is our culture and our heritage to wear cornrows, yes cornrows originated in Africa.  So when celebrities adopt these parts of our lives that we would be otherwise vilified for and kept from getting jobs, racially profiled, getting promotions, housing loans at better rates, better treatment in schools.

This year girls got into trouble for wearing braids to school.  Because having hair thicker than 2 inches is a distraction. braids.  What else are we supposed to do with our hair?  Keep frying it to make it straight to make everyone else feel good?  Because...reasons?

So does this mean you can only exploit a culture based on your own ethnic identity?

For now, yes.

It's dumb isn't it?  I agree that it's dumb but it's literally not right, it's not fair that people like Katy Perry to appropriate rap culture and use the very aspects of African American life to profit from it.  Look at Iggy Azalea, she does not know what it's like to be black, she comes from a country where they killed all the Aborigines, and no I'm not blaming her for that but am I the only one who notices she puts on an accent, like being black in America is a game to her.  It's a persona to adopt and when she's done with it the show is over.

If it's not okay for black people to be black why is okay for other people to pretend to be black for a profit?

And I don't blame these artists, this is been happening for quite some time.  Look at Elvis Presley no he wasn't overt but where do you think that style of rock and roll came from?  That's right.  The blues and who had the blues, we did.  TV stations wouldn't show Elvis' hips because he was shaking them and gyrating them.  Sounds mighty black to me.  But ok.

Well, what about Eminem?

Em is different.  He doesn't get all the passes but he gets enough because he's coming from a place that expresses his upbringing through rap music.  He's not pretending to be black or come from a place he knows nothing about.  He was being himself.  His race didn't factor into the fact that he loves rap music and wants to rap.

Katy Perry wearing cornrows in a music video just to be cool or Miley Cyrus making a mockery of hip-hop is not the same thing.

Here's why cultural appropriation is irresponsible and damaging.  I know it seems like I'm picking on Katy Perry, Pharrell and even Puffy appropriated but what Pharrell did was an accident with the headdress, should he have known better?  Yes.  But Katy Perry was overtly horrible.

She wore a geisha outfit with her cleavage showing and mixed Chinese and Japanese elements together as if they're the same culture.

Representation matters.  This isn't about being PC it's about not taking someone else's culture for your own benefit.  Not while the people of that culture are still struggling for fair treatment.  It's also insulting because you shouldn't need gimmicks to sell your music.  If your music is good just sing.  Toni Braxton didn't need gimmicks, Sade didn't need to dress up, we're paying all this attention to these "singers" who do flashy things to get that money.

And speaking of flashy things...Puff Daddy appropriated his own culture.  He overused sampling and regurgitated already catchy tunes from the disco era, already proven formulas and made them his own.  Rap no longer was conscious and no longer had the deep meanings it had before.

I highly encourage everyone to watch Atlanta, the fourth episode The Streisand Effect explains what I'm talking about.

As Alfred tries to rationalize his full-time gig as a dealer ("That's what rap is -- making the best out of a bad situation," he says) and call out Zan for his online behavior, Zan turns the tables. "You're exploiting your situation to make rap and I'm exploiting you exploiting that -- money, bro." Zan then reveals the baby's identity. "That's not my son -- that's my business partner. We make Vine videos together. 

Just remember its all fun and games until I try to go into a job interview and I don't get the job because I have an afro.

But these girls are upset about curls and frizz.

Girl bye.


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