Cultural appropriation has been a topic social media has been tackling hard lately. I myself have always spoken upon it, and my disdain for the fact that we disregard calling out black cultural appropriation among non black people of color. The issue at hand and the hard truth is this, non black people of color can and do appropriate black culture. Cultural appropriation is not limited to white people, and white people shouldn’t be the only ones who get put in their place for it. This article is not an attack on a specific race, but a mere analysis on how East Asians treat blackness like fashion, and how they need to cut it.
Who couldn’t understand the appeal behind being black? Aside from systematic oppression, daily racial attacks on and off social media, and the constant microaggressions we face from white and non black people of color in real life, I love the fuck out of being black, and every black person should too. It is understandable how people who are not apart of black culture over in East Asian countries can be fascinated with it and shit, I can even understand wanting to BE black. Our people are lit, and naturally talented, and entertaining, and I am perfectly fine with people appreciating blackness from the outside without wearing us like a skinned bear, and I can get behind East Asians respectfully showing their love for black people and our culture. What I cant get behind is treating blackness like costume and especially when pop singers and pop “rappers” (I put rappers in quotes because that shit is not real rap to me, and most other black Americans) use blackness to boost their appeal and to profit off of it to sell records and appear rough, edgy, and hard for their trendy thuggish image (Because of course to them black = tough and intimidating, and that thought process doesn’t contribute to why we get denied jobs, followed around stores, and why police in America see us as inherently dangerous at allllllllll).[caption id="attachment_10366" align="aligncenter" width="423"] black hair appropriation among various East Asian pop stars[/caption]
The issue that arises with treating blackness like a prop is that not only is it outright disrespectful and offensive, but when you are a public figure or a celebrity of some sort of caliber you are inviting thousands if not millions of adoring fans to copy what you are doing and think it is okay. Because of this new waves have risen across East Asian countries where teenagers and young adults are OBSESSED with blackness to the point where it is creepy and disgusting. They get braids like black people, do some sort of hair treatments to get afro textured hair, and dress how what they think is “black” and truly live behind this. In Japan to my knowledge, this is called “B Style” where they have reduced blackness to a lifestyle that they have chosen and combine elements of hip hop and stereotypes into their fashion. While the intention behind this may simply just be young people being impressionable and wanting to dress and look like their favorite artists or celebrity, this is harmful and insulting to people who are not only put down, and made fun in those countries for how we do our hair, and how we naturally look, but also are oppressed here in America for the same hairstyles and clothes that you deem innocent fashion trends.[caption id="attachment_10369" align="aligncenter" width="415"] Hiro Montana, an example of black hair appropriation[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10367" align="aligncenter" width="413"] Hina, a B Styler[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10368" align="aligncenter" width="377"] A B Styler at an event[/caption]
Many people argue that this isn’t cultural appropriation, but “appreciation” that these social media stars, and pop artists are merely showing how awesome they think black people and our image and culture is, and while that may possibly be their intentions and may be true, there is no “nice” way to fetishize a race. If black people today started incorporating various East Asian cultures into our day to day fashion and treating it like a cool, hip, trendy new look for our people collectively, the people who these cultures belong to would be absolutely disgusted. Why? Because those cultures are sacred to those people, they have a meaning, and make up their collective and historic identity as individuals from that country, and no matter where they go in the world it follows them, because it is who they are. They can understand this but they cant understand why it is disgusting and insulting to treat black culture as they do. Partially because in those countries blackness has been marketed and commercialized and sold to them as a fad and a trend rather than displayed respectfully as a important culture, so it is impossible for people (many who have never met black people in their life) to say they are appreciating and respecting something that was presented to them through bastardization. In simple terms, this is not okay. You will never be black. You can wipe off the bronzer, and take out the braids, and take off the clothes, because all of this is a choice to you, but nobody who is actually black chose to be black, and nobody who is black is out here treating your Asian identity as a fashion look on a mass scale. You have such beautiful cultures of your own that you are blessed to be apart of. WHY do you NEED to have ours too? You have to be BORN black to be black, and no amount of clothes, dreads, braids, makeup, and reverse perms will ever make you suffer the way we do and live the things we have to live through. Each of these East Asian countries that have made blackness a fad in their pop culture, also have a synonym for nigger in their languages, and have historically made it clear that anti blackness is something that they accept and agree with. For these reasons alone. I say please, leave black culture and blackness alone.