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?
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?
Uncle Snoop Get Your Apology to Ari Lennox Ready
Apparently, everyone’s favorite uncle likes apologizing. Fresh off of his apology tour for his controversial comments towards broadcast journalists Gayle King, Snoop Dogg decided to comment on Ari Lennox’s Instagram live to instruct her to “grow your own hair.”
Yesterday, the Dreamville songbird took to Instagram Live in true Ari fashion to document her trying on a new lace front wig. Not known for wearing wigs, she struggled with figuring out how much lace to cut and securing the hair as she entertained her followers with hilarious gestures and commentary.
Eventually, a snippet of the video ended up on The Shade Room for everyone’s viewing pleasure.
Moments later, Snoop was unnecessarily commenting under the video.
In no time, women were coming to Ari’s defense, reminding the legendary rapper that his wife and daughter are no strangers to wigs.
You’d think men would know to leave their opinions to themselves when it comes to women’s hair, especially black women, but clearly, Uncle Snoop forgot to read that particular memo.
Once Ari caught wind of Snoop’s comments, she delivered a lovely little shade tree, posting a photo of Snoop wearing a blonde wig with the caption, “Uncle I just…I just thought we had an understanding….”
Following the backlash that he’s currently receiving, I can already envision the apology that’s sure to follow. Perhaps someone should remind Uncle Snoop that the best apology is changed behavior…
DJ D-Nice Has Spun His Way Into the Living Rooms of Thousands
Every day, legendary DJ D-Nice (a.k.a. Derrick Jones) spends countless hours helping thousands of global citizens forget about the coronavirus pandemic and financial woes with his “Homeschool” parties.
Initially jumping on Instagram Live to cure his boredom while “self-isolating,” D-Nice had an audience of a few hundred, mostly friends. As word began to spread, it grew to a few thousand. By Sunday, over 160,000 people joined his live for a virtual party that included the heavyweights such as Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett-Smith, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Fallon, and Vice President Joe Biden.
During a CBS This Morning interview, D-Nice shared, “I literally just played what feels good. I wanted people to feel good. I wanted their experience to be lifted through music, just one song at a time.” And he’s done just that. While on live, his comment section is a constant stream of cheers, shout outs, and music-lovers asking, “Where the drinks at?” It feels like the best VIP section you’ll ever experience but from your living room.
“No matter what your problems are, you can put on a good tune and it just takes you away and I was trying to do that,” he explained. “It wasn’t just the music, it was the whole experience and everyone escaping what’s going on today just for a few hours.”
While some of his neighbors have complained about the noise, D-Nice is committed to keeping the party going as the universal language of music is playing a vital role in keeping us all connected.
We have DJ D-Nice to thank for that!
Jay Electronica & Joe Budden Used Their Twitter Fingers to Exchange Insults
It took 10 years for Jay Electronica to release his highly-anticipated album, A Written Testimony. While some are singing his praises, others are incredibly disappointed. One such person is former rapper turned media personality, Joe Budden.
Budden used his platform, The Joe Budden Podcast episode Dry Snitching to express his disappointment. Budden proclaimed, “You’ve been missing for ten years- which is cool, ’cause you’ve been living life. But that confidence that I thought you might’ve been living life with is suppressed…that lens that I’m looking through paints the story of a different MC. And that MC is one that would get smacked around by Hov on every song.”
In response, Electronica took to Twitter and posted a video clip of DaBaby saying “fuck it,” directing the tweet at Rory, one of the co-hosts on Budden’s podcast.
Shortly after, Budden responded referring to Jay-Z’s performance on A Written Testimony, where he appears on eight of ten tracks. “I never got absolutely mopped around on my own project either… @ me, not Rory.”
Here’s how the rest of that conversation went:
The tirade ended with Electronica demanding credit for “lighting up” the podcast episode.
Electronica released A Written Testimony on Friday, March 13th. It’s his first solo album after more than ten years of delays with features by Jay-Z, The-Dream and Travis Scott, with additional production by The Alchemist, No ID, Swizz Beatz and Hit-Boy.