Somewhereinamerica – A Look At Cultural Appropriation

“Feds still lurking. They can see I’m still putting work in. Cause somewhere in America Miley is still twerking”

— Jay Z, Somewhereinamerica

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Recently in a Billboard interview Miley Cyrus explained how she appreciated Kendrick Lamar’s HUMBLE about loving & embracing yourself but she caught flack for her comments because it wasn’t all filled with profanity and demeaning women.

This was seen as hypocritical because she a few years prior she was riding phallic inflatables and encouraging the same behavior she now condemned.

Not only that but this wasn’t the first time she’s been reductive and wrong about hip hop.

In Marie Claire she mistakenly tried to point out hypocrisy stating that it was acceptable when Kendrick rapped about LSD but that when she did it she was being a druggie. Vince Staples then correct her when in fact it was ASAP Rocky who she was referring to.

“‘Miley should shut the fuck up about Kendrick Lamar. So is it either you don’t know what you’re talking about, or is it all black people look alike? Either one is fine with me but shut the fuck up Miley Cyrus.”

There’s nothing wrong with evolution but making hip hop a scape goat is just a reminder of White privilege. She and so many others had the privilege of being accepted by Black culture, receiving the benefits but when she tired of it she went back to the dominant society.

During this volatile time of political unrest and safety of many Black boys and girls being in danger there has been a call for the same artists who are in love with the culture to stand with and beside the disenfranchised who create the trends that are later copied.

Cultural appropriation is a real problem. The issue time and time again is White voices are amplified while Blacks are silenced. Brands and publications have praised White celebrities for discovering or starting trends that Black women were demonized for.

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Amandla Stenberg called for Kylie Jenner to use her voice to speak up for the people who’s features she emulated are was dismissed by Jenner for her criticism.

The Grammys credibility was called into questioning in back to back years where Kendrick’s GKMC was good enough to be the only rap album nominated for Album of The Year but not good enough to win it’s category of Best Rap Album. Then the next year Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic was nominated for Best Rap Album.

“When they give those awards, The Grammys are suppose to be given out are for artistic excellence, Iggy Azalea is not excellent.
I have a problem when you say that it’s hip hop and putting up against Black culture, it’s like a cultural smudging
The message I see is telling White kids ‘You’re great, you can do whatever you put your mind to’ & ‘it says to Black kids you don’t have shit, you don’t own shit not even the shit you created for yourself.”

— Azealia Banks, HOT 97 Interview

This past week social media influencer YesJulz was called out and lost 2 hosting jobs after posting a tweet asking if she could wear a shirt that said ‘Niggas lie a lot’.

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This tone deaf tweet & her response after the backlash exposed so many problematic issues in the hip hop community. Here was a PUMA sponsored influencer who got famous hosting parties and promoting new music. And she felt comfortable enough in this community to wear this shirt to a festival with Black & Brown faces.

Along with the shirt there was video that surfaced or her actually saying ‘nigga’ but she’s not alone. While dating PartyNextDoor Kehlani released a record similar to TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’ called ‘Niggas’.

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Just to be clear Whites can enjoy hip hop and statically actually support it the most but there are no ‘nigga’/Black passes and just because you’re not a racist doesn’t mean you can invite yourself or others to the cookout.

For those outside the culture who enjoy what we create or the trends Blacks & POC start the onus is on you to not to just consume but pay homage to those who create. And specifically to Black men, give your attention & praise to Black women and their platforms instead of readily disregarding or worse degrading Black women to please White women who may share the features you admire.

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