Cultural Appropriation

Imani Lige, Co-Editor

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Throughout media, the phrase, Cultural Appropriation, is used to call out those who inappropriately use characteristics, customs, ideas, or anything else key to another cultural and use it for gain reaction etc. This can be seen as a girl at Fashion Week wearing a Native American/Indigenousness headdress down the runway, or when college students wear black face paint and dress like “Thugs and Hoes” for a party. It also when someone wear a geisha clothing when you are not of the cultural itself and knowing the importance of it.


Though there is also the other side, Cultural Appreciation. This argument is used to say that whoever is using another one’s culture is not make fun of it but they are wearing it as a sign of respect or that they love the cultural. One person who is constantly walking this line is Pop Star Ariana Grande. With her latest hit, “7 Rings,” men have noted more than a few quotable rhythms or patterns in the music beats to other popular hip hop or rap songs. The Atlantic quotes, “For the chorus, a marching-formation beat kicks in and Grande whispers, in a clipped rhythm, “I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it.” In the bridge, she raps in a kind of ranging, liquid style reminiscent of Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj’s “Flawless (Remix),” with a reference to The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Gimme the Loot.”” One could say the Ari is just paying her respects to other hit sounds as some others do. The only issue many point out with that conclusions is that Ariana is not like other artist who pay respect using similar flows or what not. She is not apart of the Culture of Hip Hop or Rap. It’s the idea that just because you date a black man you can not say the n-word. Same with the art, it was never yours to begin with so don’t try to copy it.

This is how I see it, Ariana is a great artist and we love everything she has put out. We also see her as someone who has gone through alot in the past couples of months. This however is not an excuses for allowing her to change her look dramatically enough to make herself appear to be from a different culture. When you tan your skin, talk in a stereotypical tone of those from one culture and use other songs from a different genre in slightly different way, many people will have issues with it. And if we let this slide then we might as well let anyone come in and take from our music, our look, and anything else that could boost their popularity while we can be shunned from a boardroom for it.