Cultural Appropriation Comes Up Again with Miley Cyrus's Comments
A hot topic within the black community, especially in recent years, has been cultural appropriation. With the power of social media facilitating discussions digitally, people everywhere have been lamenting together on the appropriation of black beauty and culture. From the Kardashians being praised for their traditionally black-associated features like big lips, big butts, and wearing weaves to the controversy of Marc Jacobs’ fashion show back in fall 2016, mainstream culture is still borrowing looks from us without giving us any of the praise.
When Marc Jacobs experienced backlash on his appropriating black culture by having his white models don rainbow-coloured dreads, he was quick to defend his art in a comment on Instagram by bringing up women of color straightening their hair. “ I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see color or race- I see people.” The issue was not that he was borrowing from other cultures but failed to put many women of color with dreads in his show nor he nor his hairstylist acknowledged the origins of the hairstyle.
It is also common in the fashion and beauty industry to see traditionally black hairstyles like Bantu knots, box braids, and cornrows being treated as a fashion statement when in year’s past, it would have been seen as ‘ghetto’ or ‘hood’ on a person of color. The same goes for black body shapes and features being ‘fat’. As a result, it seems as if everyone now is trying to get a big butt and ‘slim thick’, but not because black women have been admired for these body types. It is because white women are instead being praised for those same features African American women possess. The latest controversy to take the stage in regards to appropriation came up in May of this year with Miley Cyrus making statements about hip hop.
The latest controversy to take the stage in regards to appropriation came up early this month with Miley Cyrus making statements about hip hop.
It seems Miley is finally getting out of her wild faze and getting clean. In a recent interview with Billboard, Miley shares that although folk singer Melanie Safka influenced her and she enjoys Kendrick Lamar’s new song “Humble” she is so over hip hop music now. “ It was too much 'Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my c*ck' —I am so not that."
These comments Miley made led to outrage on Twitter with people stating that white privilege has allowed her to borrow from black culture and then drop it when she’s no longer interested. It is fine to change genres but what is not okay is using black culture to her advantage and then trashing it when she’s over it. During her Bangerzera, Miley collaborated with many black performers in her albums and concerts like Mike WiLL Made-It and she hadblack women doing backup for her. This is an example of white privilege, using another person’s culture when it is profitable or convenient for you but dismiss it once you no longer need it. An angry Twitter user expressed, “Miley Cyrus exploited hip hop culture then bashed it and hopped back into her white girl innocence phase. Having white privilege must be nice.” In addition to this, she also stereotyped the hip-hop genre for being vulgar and by distancing herself from the genre she makes herself seem above it and the people whose culture it is a part of.
So just like with fashion and beauty, hip-hop is a common stream some artists will use to treat black culture as a trend or fad rather than an appreciation of another’s culture.
Article by Zoe Phinazee