Cultural Appropriation: The Influence of Music’s Image on Race Relations
Chart-topping artists have long been able to capture America with music videos that feature catchy lyrics, buoyant beats, and a vivacity of visual elements. The appeal of these videos lies in the glorification of celebrity lives, playing on the desire for pleasure amongst viewers. In the quest to address this desire, a pattern of White artists adopting clothing, hairstyles, and language that are attributed to Black culture has manifested. The appropriation that is present in these videos make them a source of capitalism in which a dominant race or class of people are able to simplify cultural rudiments of another for the sake of commercial appeal. These elements are …show more content…
“A people with no connection to history, divorced from place and context, engines of pure abstraction -- which is what Capitalism is all about; the conversion of the complex, beautiful world into quantifiable units that can be speculated upon" (Frank). Thus, a history of oppression in which Whites exploit the tribulations of Blacks is maintained within the modern music industry. The identification of stereotypes and further categorizations of Black individuals has been established and recognized. In a discussion regarding his inspiration for the series ‘Whiteness Goggles’, Peet explains, "Discussing [cultural appropriation] opens fault lines within groups of people, and reveals some fundamental differences in the ways different people see the world as a result of their contexts of race, class, gender and power. Appropriation is something I think about a lot, because I think it 's a singular way to understand some of the more insidious and destructive ways that capitalism works" …show more content…
These artists, who possess the power to reach millions of viewers, are often criticized for their lack of attention to the real issues facing Black America. Resounding efforts are made on their parts to exploit a culture but when it comes to anything beyond that, the artists remain quiet. Actress Amandla Stenberg insists on the consideration of this dynamic by posing the question “What if America loved Black People as much as they love Black culture?” in her critical video “Don’t Cash Crop my Cornrows” (Stenberg). During a historical period in which numerous Black Americans face injustices and many others have lost their lives, an evocative response from some of the most influential individuals in the music industry is
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In his most recent album, Kanye West raps, “Now if I fuck this model/ And she just bleached her asshole/ And I get bleach on my T-shirt/ I 'mma feel like an asshole.” He suggests that it is the girl’s fault for getting bleach on his tee shirt, which she only did to make herself more sexually appealing. This misogyny in hip-hop culture is recognized to bring about problems. For instance, the women around these rappers believe they can only do well in life if they submit themselves to the men and allow themselves to be cared for in exchange for physical pleasure. In her essay, “From Fly-Girls to Bitches and Hoes”, Joan Morgan argues that the same rap music that dehumanizes women can be a powerful platform for gender equality if implemented correctly.
Race, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits (“Merriam-Webster” 2016). “The concept of race, as a construct distinguishing one group of humans from another on the basis of shared biological appearances, emerges from a legacy of human-different making that traces across humanity” (Radano and Bohlman 2000: 10). In my opinion, it is inevitable for musicians to subconsciously incorporate their ideas of racial differences in music making. With the influence of the mass media, racial differences are communicated through music, which then modifies the pre-existing perceptions of racial identities of the audiences. First, I will
The purpose of this study is determine why and how African American music that’s is so deeply rooted into the community is being culturally appropriated. This is a topic that has been the on the foreground of race for years. Activists and celebrities like Adrienne Keene, DeRay McKesson, Azealia Banks, and Jesse Williams helped bring the issue into the national attention. Most of the world or better yet the appropriators have very little knowledge of what the word actually means. In order to understand the problem we must first understand the word Culture and Appropriation. Culture being defined as the beliefs, ideas, traditions, speech, and material objects associated with a particular group of people. Appropriation the action of taking something
In African American Studies/Literature I walked in thinking that I could be told nothing about African American culture or history because I’m African American. In some ways I knew that racism existed but I learned how it has been subtle in control the way we think. We have learned that colonization has not ended and that in many ways we are still being oppressed. In this paper I’m going to show how African American has used hip hop and black hair are two ways in which African Americans embrace their culture and fighting oppression. However, as we have review in many classes oppression is not easily escaped. So in this paper I’m going to show how cultural appropriation is used as a way of oppressing black culture. So this paper will be an expansion of what we have learned in the
In the words of rapper Busta Rhymes, “hip-hop reflects the truth, and the problem is that hip-hop exposes a lot of the negative truth that society tries to conceal. It’s a platform where we could offer information, but it’s also an escape” Hip-hop is a culture that emerged from the Bronx, New York, during the early 1970s. Hip-Hop was a result of African American and Latino youth redirecting their hardships brought by marginalization from society to creativity in the forms of MCing, DJing, aerosol art, and breakdancing. Hip-hop serves as a vehicle for empowerment while transcending borders, skin color, and age. However, the paper will focus on hip-hop from the Chican@-Latin@ population in the United States. In the face of oppression, the Chican@-Latin@ population utilized hip hop music as a means to voice the community’s various issues, desires, and in the process empower its people.
Frisby, C.M., Stevens, J.A. (2012) Race and Genre in the Use of Sexual Objectification in Female Artists’ Music Video. Howard Journal of Communications (Vol. 23, Is. 1, p. 66-87)
...abuse towards women, the sexual objectification of women and the effect these lyrics have on our youth?s opinion of women make hip-hop the absolute embodiment of exploitation of women. The extreme abuse that women must endure as a result of hip-hop, in conjunction with the constant objectification and marginalization that women continue to experience in society today has had a very negative influence on an average adolescent?s perception of women. In a fashion that is metaphorically parallel to the exploitation of women in rap, the great French writer Francois-Marie Arouet, whose pseudonym is Voltaire, once stated, ?No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible? (Arouet). Hip-hop icons are instilled with the incomparable power to change lives for the better or the worse?for the sake of women everywhere, black or white, one can only pray that it is the former.
The cultural theory helps expand the knowledge of “hip hop” as an idea and influence on society. Mark Anthony Neal discusses the development of the understanding of hip hop by dissecting the layers and complexities of the culture, “Hip-hop music and culture emerged as a narrative and stylistic distillation of African-American youth sensibilities in the late 1970s,” within What the Music Said (Woldu 18). Urban history is a large, yet vital characteristic throughout the study of hip hop and its progression; Russell Potter shows how critical the representation of black musical expression and the “history of vernacular speech” is for the hip hop community in his book, Spectacular Vernaculars (Woldu 19). As decades pass and the hip hop scene expands, the history of this culture becomes influenced by more historical movements and creations. However, that is not the only historical significance that runs deep within the hip hop culture. The history and influence of the black feminist movement within the hip hop scene became a demanding characteristic in the development of the hip hop culture. As the gender divide became an evident aspect through the hip hop generation, women, especially female rappers,
After reflecting more on my experiences and knowledge of popular culture, I have come to focus on specific questions and concerns that open up and explore a methodological path into my own viewing, listening, dancing and other creative encounters with hip-hop culture. Specifically, I engage the following questions:
Hip hop has permeated popular culture in an unprecedented fashion. Because of its crossover appeal, it is a great unifier of diverse populations. Although created by black youth on the streets, hip hop's influence has become well received by a number of different races in this country. A large number of the rap and hip hop audience is non-black. It has gone from the fringes, to the suburbs, and into the corporate boardrooms. Because it has become the fastest growing music genre in the U.S., companies and corporate giants have used its appeal to capitalize on it. Although critics of rap music and hip hop seem to be fixated on the messages of sex, violence, and harsh language, this genre offers a new paradigm of what can be (Lewis, 1998.) The potential of this art form to mend ethnic relations is substantial. Hip hop has challenged the system in ways that have unified individuals across a rich ethnic spectrum. This art form was once considered a fad has kept going strong for more than three decades. Generations consisting of Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and Asians have grown up immersed in hip-hop. Hip hop represents a realignment of America?s cultural aesthetics. Rap songs deliver a message, again and again, to keep it real. It has influenced young people of all races to search for excitement, artistic fulfillment, and a sense of identity by exploring the black underclass (Foreman, 2002). Though it is music, many people do not realize that it is much more than that. Hip hop is a form of art and culture, style, and language, and extension of commerce, and for many, a natural means of living. The purpose of this paper is to examine hip hop and its effect on American culture. Different aspects of hip hop will also be examined to shed some light that helps readers to what hip hop actually is. In order to see hip hop as a cultural influence we need to take a look at its history.
By carefully analyzing the synapses between the existential Negro and the Hipster, we can deduce the reflections on the wider umbrella of American popular culture. The elements of music, politics, language and general human characteristics resulting from American popular culture all worked together to create the “white negro”- a person who can be simply referred to as a white person with black or “negro”
Some may say music is just music; a song is just a song. However, music plays an enormous role in our psychology, because a single song has the ability to bring about many kinds of thoughts and emotions in the listener. Music is subtly one of the main factors in which people identify with certain groups and establish their belonging in society. It shapes people’s perspectives on how the world functions and the roles they play within it. Music can function the same way in a culture; it can reflect many of the culture’s values and ideologies. Music can have many effects on culture and the people’s idea of who they think they are within that culture. Music can serve in a way that promotes cultural identity and pride, yet it could also play a role in the separation of social and economical identities in within cultures.
With the music being the highly profitable, capitalist enterprise that it is today, it is no wonder that it is controlled and regulated by a few large conglomerates that exist is today’s world. It is important to make clear that although evidence is being presented of the positive aspects of globalization through music that there is overwhelming evidence that cultural imperialism is more than it seems on the outside. One must keep in mind that cultural imperialism, globalization and the creation of a global village is a business. People are profiting at other people’s loss of cultural identity, they are sold a culture and heritage. With the every growing N’Sync fan clubs and Britney clones, the world is turning into a stage for pop culture and its glamorous unattainable standards.