A Lesson for White America: Stop Jocking Our Style
Whether it’s Kylie Jenner cheesing with a gold grill over her teeth, or Katy Perry stuffing her pants with pads to make her butt look bootylicious, the issue of cultural appropriation is one that has been happening way more than it needs to be.
Fashion is a world that is rarely dominated by people of color. On a typical high-fashion runway, there is usually little to no black representation. There’s always the token few, but the majority of the models walking are usually white faces. Oh, and let’s not forget about the creative geniuses behind the work.
Mainstream runways tend to exclude the African American community. The so-called ‘new’ trends being praised actually originated from black people who wore the garments way before they were “discovered.”
Things like Timberland boots, baggy track jackets, and Air Force 1s were staples of urban African-American style way back in the 90s; but fashion magazines are just now starting to recognize these items as “brand new” trends.
Just last year, Elle Magazine received back lash after tweeting about the discovery of Timberland boots saying they would “explode” when in reality, this fashion fad happened nearly 20 years ago serving as a mainstay of hip-hop fashion. The boots were and still are a significant part of black culture. But because white celebrities have been seen in them they are all of a sudden the next upcoming thing.
Let’s not forget that cultural appropriation is not just happening in fashion. Blacks have and continue to be ridiculed by mainstream America for how we look. We’ll receive stereotypes such as having big lips, and “nappy” hair. But when Kylie Jenner wants to over-line her lipstick to get that plump pout, it’s considered the new beauty trend. And when a fashion designer decides to style their model’s hair in messy tresses, it’s considered visually appealing.
Recently, 16-year-old Amandla Stenberg, star of hit movie Hunger Games, took to social media to share a video called “Don’t Cash Crop On my Cornrows” where she gives the audience a crash course on cultural appropriation.
“Hip-hop stems from a black struggle, it stems from jazz and blues, styles of music African-Americans created to retain humanity in the face of adversity,” Stenberg said. “On a smaller scale but in a similar vein, braids and cornrows are not merely stylistic. They’re necessary to keep black hair neat.”
There is no doubt that this fascination with black culture triumphs the actual love for black people as a whole.
When will credit actually be given when it’s due? Will cultural appropriation ever end? Or is it a never-ending cycle?
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