Let’s start off by saying this: CULTURAL APPROPRIATION EXISTS! It is a real thing that consistently happens and decades of art have provided us proof. Think Short Circuit 2. Think the Vegan Durag. Nicki Minaj provided an excellent example of the issue when she addressed the use of hip-hop and black culture in this year’s New York Fashion WeekNicki stated after a performance at Phillip Plein‘s NYFW Show: 

“Designers get really big and really rich off of our culture, and then you don’t see a motherfucker that look anything like us in the front row half the time.”

Appropriation

Fashion designers regularly adopt items from “hip-hop” and “black” culture, relabel it and profit. Think Boxer Braids. We see you.

However, talking about the “borrowing of culture” in a country that is built off the blending of cultures is a complex conversation and words like “racist, ” and “thief” get flimsily thrown around in discussions about pop culture. Pop, short for popular, is built off bringing an exchange of relatable sounds and ideas to a wider audience. Dare I mention – sampling.

We shouldn’t take out the pitchforks every time Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber drops a song that has a hip-hop influence, well mostly because – hip-hop is the most popular genre in the world, and all artists, being artists, are inspired by it. That’s not racism, that’s the creation of the process.

That’s not racism, that’s the process of creation.

If we become The Society That Screamed Racism, we’re going to lose way more than a sheep.