“Cultural appropriation” has become a hot topic over the past few years and the misunderstanding of it has led to cultural segregation more than anything else. However, the concept of cultural appropriation is legit. Negatively borrowing from other cultures and exploiting them should be a concern.
Want examples of cultural appropriation? Blackface parties still happen on college campuses. When non-black fraternity members paint themselves black, grab their balls, and sing in a ghetto accent, that’s cultural appropriation. When a non-Indian person goes to a costume party, paints a red dot on their head, and wears a turban (which has a deep significance and has to be earned in Indian culture), that’s cultural appropriation.
However, artists like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Iggy Azalea, and others have been accused of cultural appropriation, even when their intentions aren’t bad. It’s doubtful that when Taylor Swift filmed her video for “Wildest Dreams” in Africa, she was thinking, “I’m going to do a video about white colonialism!”
When performing at the American Music Awards in 2013, Katy Perry probably thought she was paying tribute to Japanese culture when she dressed in a kimono with her face powdered. And Miley Cyrus’ twerking may be ridiculous, but is it fair to call it racist?
Now, Beyoncé has taken it to the max by dressing up as a Hindi woman. The Independent describes the controversy.
“The video, directed by Ben Mor, sees the artist dressed in traditional Desi adornment while playing the role of a Bollywood actress, as Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin attends a local cinema to watch her latest production.”
When Iggy Azalea and Selena Gomez did the same thing, they were figuratively burned alive by the internet. Beyoncé has received some criticism, but has been largely defended for doing something that should be far more offensive to social justice warriors than what the other pop acts did.
The Huffington Post, the site that has written tons of clickbait articles about Taylor Swift and Katy Perry allegedly insulting other cultures, goes very light on Beyoncé.
“Beyoncé Is A Kaleidoscopic Vision In Coldplay’s ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ Video,” the title flashes across the front page. The article goes on to praise Beyoncé’s appearance and inform readers that many Indians love Coldplay. Many commenters under the article notice the double standard.
“Beyoncé completely appropriates Indian culture, nobody bats an eye. White girl dresses up as Pocahontas, everyone loses their s***t. Nope, I don’t see a double-standard in that, what’s so ever…” claims David Faulkner.
“I don’t think Huffington Post EVER gets to use any variation of the word ‘hypocrisy’ again,” responds James Marler II.
Twitter has been lit up with people noticing the double standards as well.
Those who slammed Kylie for appropriating black culture are now appreciating Beyoncé for appropriating Indian culture #doublestandards— hasha (@sweet_heidi3) January 30, 2016
why does everyone stay mute when beyonce culture appropriates but jump at iggy for doing the same thing she did i love double standards— harley quinn (@snehaxx) January 30, 2016
Beyoncé really doesn’t deserve a lot of criticism for her appearance in the video, and it could be argued that she is displaying cultural appreciation rather than cultural appropriation. But we can certainly say the same for Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and tons of others who have recently been burned on the internet for not conforming to social justice warrior culture. The double standard doesn’t help; it further divides people. Jay-Z’s wife is a great artist, but she isn’t God. However, Beyoncé will continue to be protected by those in the media who hypocritically criticize others for doing the same things.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]