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Cultural Appropriation Are black people culture vultures too?

Cultural appropriation is not a crime only white people are guilty of.

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Beyonce in Indian attire play

Beyonce in Indian attire


Is it possible for black people to be guilty of cultural appropriation or is it something only 'white people' do?

On the surface level, cultural appropriation is the adoption of elements of a culture by a person or people from another culture. This is not a bad thing if you look at this way but it is more layered than this.

Within the context of social power dynamics, cultural appropriation is when people from a dominant group take cultural elements from a group of people who have been oppressed by the dominant group.

White women rocking braids play

White women rocking braids



This definition I believe is meant to reflect the dynamics between white Americans and African Americans. There are many parts of African American culture that were 'hijacked' by white Americans and the racist system. The best example of this is rock music.

Rock Music has strong African-American origins but it was hijacked by white music labels and white washed. Hence Elvis Presley crowned the King of Rock and Roll with no subtext on the African-American influence. It's because of this cultural appropriation that black Americans and Latinos are wary of white rappers in Hip-Hop till today.

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll play

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll

(YouTube )


In modern times, the Kardashians have been accused of stealing the looks of black women. Coldplay, Iggy Azalea, Katy Perry and others have been accused of cultural appropriation.

Khloe Kardashian in Niqab play

Khloe Kardashian in Niqab



The narrative clearly leans a whole lot towards white people jacking cultural elements from lesser dominant groups. Agreed.

Is it possible though for black people to adopt certain aspects of other cultures?

At Native Land concert and Gidi Fest, I noticed a lot of young guys rocking Iron Maiden t-shirts. I was curious to know what Iron Maiden is so I googled. Iron Maiden is a legendary British heavy metal. I am not a betting man but I am sure that most of the kids at these shows do not listen to heavy metal.

An Iron Maiden t-shirt play

An Iron Maiden t-shirt

(Zumiez )


The genre of music is actually a sub-genre of rock music which has African American origins but heavy metal, not so. This is where I get confused. Isn't it cultural appropriation when Nigerian kids who do not know anything about heavy metal wear Iron Maiden t-shirts? If Justin Bieber wears a Fela t-shirt he would most likely be hounded as a culture vulture?

Let's move to the aspect of hair. Some black women prefer to wear natural Brazilian hair which is cool but isn't that some sort of cultural appropriation. Brazilian hair and African hair are not the same. Hair is cultural and that's why Kylie Jenner gets slated when she does cornrows that we all know black women invented. How is this different from Salewa wearing 100% natural Brazilian hair? It smells like cultural appropriation to me.

Kylie Jenner on cornrows play

Kylie Jenner on cornrows

(Instagram )


Female black rappers have been rocking blond wigs for years. Last time I checked only Caucasians have blond hair with the exception of albinos and aborigines. If Iggy Azalea rocks a black Afro wig I bet you she will be dragged online.

Let's not act that jacking from other cultures is a white thing. We all do this. We like an element from another culture and we adopt it.

The only bad thing about this is when you do not acknowledge and respect the culture you are taking from. We as black people should stop the narrative that we do not take from other cultures too.

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