The more black fashion appears in mainstream the less black, black people become.
When black fashion is pictured we start to imagine black men and women in gold jewelry, wearing Air Jordan’s, and braids. These are just three things that make black people black and it also give representation to the black community. However somewhere along the line the public–mostly white celebrities, started to notice the stylish ideas that were being created. This was not a big problem until they wore it and it was branded as there own to sell and distribute with no acknowledgment of where it really originated. This lead to widespread cultural appropriation and people believing that they could be accepted into the black community by dressing like black person.
Black fashion has always been a political statement of freedom and fighting against oppression. According to Buzzfeed’s video 100 Years of Black Fashion, ” natural hair, Afros, and African cloth became symbols of African heritage and pride and were further popularized throughout the 1960s.” From the 1960’s and 1970’s black fashion depicted the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. Members of the Black Panther movement popularized afros and dark sunglasses. In the 1973 the greatest contribution to music was created otherwise known as the birth of hip hop. Hip hop music influenced many teens to sport bright athletic sets and loose fitting clothes. Black icons such as Michael Jackson, Salt and Pepa, and Whitney Houston brought their unapologetic style and grace to the 80’s with flaming red leather jackets and matching outfits for couples. Finally we come to the most inspirational era of black culture The 90’s. During the 90’s black women were going back into their roots and wearing a multitude of fashionable braids. Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, and Erykah Badu influenced generations to come that it was okay to be natural and take care of black hair. In today’s era some aspects of black culture are flourishing while others are being taken advantage of completely. According to “Money flowing into the natural hair industry is a blessing and curse for those who built it up” an article on LA Times written by Makeda Easter, in 2016 2.5 billion dollars was spent on black hair care product by black consumers. While natural hair goes up hair relaxers are taking a 36 percent dive in prices from 2012 to 2017, stated by the article “USA: Relaxer sales fall but Black hair care market is booming, thanks to natural hair movement” from the website Brazil Beauty News. Unfortunately, the more black women wear their hair out the more attention it grabs as with all black fashion.
Black fashion has always been a major factor in how black people and the world view themselves. The black community has always suffered from the ignorance, oppression, and racism of others who saw them as less. With that being said, black people remember their history through appearances first. The issue of black fashion becoming more mainstream is that a community of people become muffled and silenced by the others wanting to be like like them but not like them. To be truly black means to experience the hatred the world has for them and wait for the everything that is considered yours to be stolen from underneath your feet. To be truly black is to feel numb every time the news reports of another innocent black victim dead at the hands of the police. Being truly black means to be called “urban”, “hood”, “ghetto”, and “scary”. These attributes may also find there way into other minorities but they can never truly understand the pain and the hardships. The styles the black communities wear are a message all on its own that says to the world,”I have a history and it will be recognized.”
In no way am I saying that cultures should stick to their own culture since that would be a terrible world. I am saying that if a person doses take from a culture they should definitely refer back to their cultural influence. Many celebrities have done this in the past and have gotten away with it countless times. Even though the black community show strong disapproval towards the celebrities actions with no apology. Then the media surrounding these famous celebrities increase the exposure of these “trends”. Cultural appropriation happens when a culture, different than the culture a person is in, is worn and is not acknowledge or is demeaning for others outside that community to wear.