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.
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.