I propose that black culture is becoming too mainstream resulting African Americans in losing their culture. Fashion trends from black culture and hip-hop culture has become a common influence in what all celebrities wear today.
Black culture started out first and foremost as a political argument. From the top of the head to the bottom of the feet everything was an expression of resistance and black culture. However, this culture was barely noticed in mainstream until late 1973, otherwise known as, the birth of hip hop. The hip hop era took to the youth like a moth take to a flame. It shocked many around the world and is still a major source of influence today. With the new success and spotlight, black culture was at its prime. Fast forword 17 years later and Brandy, Tyra Banks, Tupac, and The Notorious B.I.G bless the 90s with unapologetic culture. This is the era that is currently referred to when looking for the “new” look.
- Brown, T., & Kopano, B. (2015). Soul thieves : the appropriation and misrepresentation of african american popular culture. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
- Hunter, M. L. (2005). Race, gender, and the politics of skin tone. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
- Smith, Jessie Carney, et al. The Complete Encyclopedia of African American History, Visible Ink Press, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/rowan/detail.action?docID=4414255.
- Ford, Tanisha C. Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul. University of North Carolina Press, 2015. JSTOR, jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9781469625164_ford
An Illustrative Identity of Fashion and Style Throughout African-American History and Movements
Fashion and style has always been the shining beacon of pride in the black community. The black community started to really express themselves by going to church since it allowed them the time to be themselves in an environment which was not subjected to the racism and hatred of society. Many would dress in elegant suits with matching hats and purses because black people often had to wear uniforms during the work days. In the 1960’s black people started to use African fabric to announce their heritage proudly. The merging of fashion with media was born during the Trayvon Martin case. A plain simple hoodie was then turned into a political outcry for help during this injustice against an unarmed and innocent black teenager. The way black people present themselves to the outside world is not a trend but an identity of who they are and the battles they deal with.
The Double Standards of Cultural Appropriation
Black people have to constantly deal with the “edgy” and “alternative” trends that the majority population find favorable for only them. When white people borrow from culture they only take the thing they believe are fashion forward or could be of monetary value. This is the concern that many black people face because when they wear these same styles, on them it is responded with only black slurs. Examples of this daily occurrence is Kylie Jenner being praised for her surgically induced lips when black women are vehemently badgered for having naturally plump lips. Not only does the public love Jenner’s lips, she made a hefty profit off of them by creating her own cosmetic line. But yet their was backlash on MAC’s Instagram page for having a black model sport purple lipstick.
Black Culture Appropriation Meets Its Match On ‘The Daily Show’
Last September, the Daily Show criticized how fashion week had appropriated black culture. Dulce Sloan, a guest on the show, said that when white people appropriate culture they do not get any of the negative effects that has to come with the Fashion and styles they steal. She goes on to say that people like the Kardashians, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift do not “Get pulled over for no reason. Get followed through a store.”
It’s A Slap In The Face When White Women Wear Black Hairstyles
Author Zeba Blay believes white women should not be able to wear black hairstyles. She point out that even though the world knows what is and is not racist they have become unbearable insensitive. To support her claim she uses the fashion magazine Allure to prove her point. In the magazine there is a section that is entitled to create the perfect Afro even if your hair type is straight. Blay believes this was a specific article to white people since the picture tagged to the article is of a woman with curls. Blay then goes on to defend that when black women do straighten their hair or dye it blonde that this is a form of assimilation not appropriation. Black women assimilate to survive since so many are attacked for wearing their natural hair out because is it not seen as professional or classy.
As said previously, black people lose their ‘blackness’ when black fashion is worn by someone more socially acceptable. Contrary to this belief, black people cannot lose their blackness because there are many other factors that make them black. In addition, the cycle of black fashion trends is more beneficial to black people as well as the world. When someone more socially acceptable wear trends that are from black fashion it is not cultural appropriation it is cultural appreciation. When people style their hair in dreadlocks or wear earrings with their name on them it is to show that people who are not black can show how much they like the culture. White people capitalize on black fashion because they understand that black people are not appealing towards society, so it becomes their responsibility. When different people come together and wear black fashion they are essentially expanding and spreading black culture. Black fashion is worn by everyone so by default black culture becomes a natural trendsetter. As soon as society begins to wear the hairstyles and clothing of black people they immediately know it is time to find something else to standout. This pattern is the reason why most trends are born, why some trends go out of style, and why some become revamped. As a result of this phenomena, black people influence the world only by the way they look. If anything, this should be seen as a privilege to black people since not many cultures can say the same. Black fashion has not always been a source of happiness for the black community. In many ways black fashion can hold black people back since it reinforces that black people are “dirty and poor criminals with no intelligence” just by attire. However, this way of thinking is curbed when everyone starts to dress in mainstream black fashion trends. Know people are targeted equally since they are all dressed the same. This also allows for black people to be discreet since society dresses like them and it is harder to be noticed if everyone is following the same trends.