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Is This Cultural Appropriation or Nah?

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Recently, the Grapevine TV caused quite the sensation online for its content related to cultural appropriation and Bruno Mars. In my humble opinion, this has been the best discussion about appropriation/critique of Bruno Mars that I have seen across the internet. Whether you call it appropriation or not, I think we all can agree that at the very least, Bruno absolutely swagger-jacked the entire New Jack Swing sound prevalent in 1990s music. Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis should definitely be cashing in on Bruno’s recent fame.

But I digress.

I will be honest, while I agree that cultural appropriation exists, I really don’t understand why some people are appropriators and some aren’t? It’s like our faves are appreciating and our not-so-faves are appropriating. What are the rules and regulations?

via GIPHY

Here is my question – what do we call it when a major media outlet (usually owned and operated by the racially dominant group) inserts themselves in some Black shit and tries to spin it? Is that appropriation?

Recently, The Washington Post published this article online – “How White Nationalists are Trying to Co-Opt Black Panther.” Even though Black Panther is Blackity-Black, the Washington Post has managed to marginalize the beauty of that, while centering White Nationalists in a moment that distinctly ignores their existence. The fact that this is published in the Washington Post, which is still considered a “legitimate” news source, gives credibility to a ‘thing’ that I honestly don’t think is a ‘thing.’ They reference some “research study” but there are no statistics, no methodology, and nothing that even remotely feels like a fact. But, it’s on The Washington Post, so it must be real, right?

What do we call it when a major media outlet (usually owned and operated by the racially dominant group) inserts themselves in some Black shit and tries to spin it? Click To Tweet

What is cultural appropriation? It is the representation of cultural practices or experiences by those considered cultural outsiders; this representation or cultural borrowing is usually performed by members of the dominant group. Appropriation usually comes in one of three forms:  the performance of culture by cultural outsiders, the cross-cultural borrowing of artistic styles (as in Bruno Mars doing the wop to his 1990s New Edition-esque song), and the possession of cultural objects by outsiders. Cultural appropriation strips away the cultural autonomy of marginalized groups. The morally objectionable quality of cultural appropriation lies within the disregard of the rights of the cultural group to share and shape the origin and history of their culture. Within this context, cultural appropriation is only morally objectionable when the dominant cultural group appropriates from oppressed groups because the very nature of the dominant group is to dictate and force its culture on others while oppressed groups are often required to assimilate for protection and acceptance.

 

So, the question is – Is this Washington Post article cultural appropriation?

Think of it in terms of Beyoncé. Remember when she broke the internet announcing her pregnancy and subsequently, several articles popped up all over the internet (written by White women) critiquing her pregnancy announcement – ManRepeller, NY Post, and Refinery 29? In this way, they leeched off of Beyoncé’s media power, and profited it from it. Even though they don’t belong to the culture and they clearly don’t understand it, they all, in some way, inserted themselves and took ownership over the narrative. It’s exploitative.

I feel like this Washington Post article did the same thing.  But again, I have to ask – is this cultural appropriation too?

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Chrissy Teigen and John Legend Share News of the Loss of Their Unborn Child

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Early Thursday morning Chrissy Teigen and John Legend let the world know of the loss of their unborn child. In a heartfelt and heartbreaking post to social media, Teigen described her and husband John Legend’s “deep pain you only hear about.” She went on to talk about how the couple does not typically name their children “until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before (they) leave the hospital,” but somehow they fell on the name “Jack.”

The heartbreaking news comes just days after first being admitted to the hospital for what she described as heavy bleeding. However, two days ago, she assured fans that both her and baby were healthy and doing well. Teigen, no stranger to social media, continued to engage her following, giving brief updates along the way, when shortly after midnight she shared photos of her and John in the hospital cradling their newborn in the immediate aftermath.

While her husband has remained largely unproblematic and scandal-free, Teigen has been the frequent target of scathing criticism – much of which is completely valid. From her ridiculing Black hair, to her seemingly mocking intimate partner violence when she referenced Megan Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez’s incident, Chrissy Teigen has been the focus of such harsh vitriol that she has threatened to quit social media altogether on multiple occasions. Sharing such personal news with the world may come as a surprise to many. 

Overwhelmingly, however, the internet’s response has been positive and embracing. Celebrities and non-celebs alike have offered words of support to the couple as they go through this difficult time. See both the model’s post and the heartwarming responses to it below.

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Chadwick Boseman Passes Away At 43

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Actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for his role as King T’Challa in the box office smash “Black Panther” passed away from colon cancer Friday.

The actor was first diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2016, but remained active in his career with much of his work being released post-diagnosis. A statement from his family confirmed that he continued to work despite his cancer progressing, befitting a man who brought America’s first Black superhero to the silver screen. 

As the news of the actor’s death spread, many took to social media to share their condolences. 

The tributes continue to flood in as news of his passing continues to ripple through. Read the official statement from his family below.

“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman.

Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV.

A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.

It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. 

He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.

The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”

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When White Privilege Isn’t Enough to Get Into USC: Lori Loughlin Sentenced to 2 Months in Prison

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Actress Lori Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison today for her role in the college admissions scandal. If you haven’t followed the 10-month-long saga, Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer, plead not guilty to a bribery charge in a college admission scam back in 2019… Because white privilege just isn’t what it used to be.

The two later plead guilty to paying William Rick Singer, the mastermind, $500,000 to guarantee their two daughters a spot at the University of South Carolina.

Loughlin’s sentence came several hours after her husband’s five-month sentence. According to the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Giannulli’s five-month sentence also came with a whopping fine of $250,000 and 250 hours of community service.

“[Giannulli] engaged more frequently with Singer, directed the bribe payments to USC and Singer, and personally confronted his daughter’s high school counselor to prevent the scheme from being discovered, brazenly lying about his daughter’s athletic abilities,” US Attorney Andrew Lelling of Massachusetts said in the memo released on Tuesday. “Loughlin took a less active role, but was nonetheless fully complicit, eagerly enlisting Singer for a second time for her younger daughter, and coaching her daughter not to ‘say too much’ to her high school’s legitimate college counselor, lest he caught on to their [fradulent activity].

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