Cultural Appreciation

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Through life we as people go through different phases. We fall in and out of love with things and back in love with the very thing we said we hated. Like they say history repeats itself and when it comes to fashion it is no different, it is the perfect example. I look back at old pictures of when I was younger, you see I am a 90's baby and it was all about that sporty look, bold colors, over-sized clothing, and playful jumpsuits. Now some of these styles are making a reappearance today. It's funny how things comeback in style, but what if you couldn't just box up and put away last year fading trend or purchase the latest fad? (even though nowadays you can buy anything body parts included) What if that particular trend was a part of your genetic makeup, your culture? That is what is seemingly happening today with the African American culture, especially for women. Many of African American cultural practices have become the latest trends not by African Americans themselves, but by the mainstream.

In the past few months there has been major controversy in the media concerning the latest beauty and hair craze and the origin of them. If you haven't been idk on earth, you seen a lot of celebs rocking "Boxer-braids" to the average person that does not seem like a huge deal, but to a whole culture who have been wearing "Boxer-braids" originally known as "Cornrows" since forever, you would be offended. This is not because other races are not allowed to wear them, but because, taking something old then spinning it as something new, fresh, trendy and giving it new name when another race has been wearing them is where there is a problem. Recently some media outlets have been promoting "Boxer-braids" displayed on celebrities such as Kim K, Kylie Jenner, Vanessa Hugens among numerous of other celebs wearing this "trendy new" hairstyle. In a recent interview with PopSugar singer, actress, and mega-superstar Zendaya expressed her frustration and opens up about it,"Well, first of all braids are not new. Black women have been wearing them braids for a very long time, and that's another part of the frustration . We've been using that as a protective style, as a hairstyle. That's been in our culture and our community for a very long time. So it's not new, fresh, fun thing. Another problem is it became new and fresh and fun, because it was on someone else other than a black women. You know what I mean? So that is the frustration. That's where the culture appropriation element comes into play" she said.

This is just one case of cultural appropriation, another huge story in the media in the past months is with the major cosmetic brand MAC. In February they posted a picture on their Instagram promoting one of their lipstick on a women with full lips. No big deal right? Wrong. Underneath the picture was an uproar of nasty and rude comments. Still your probably thinking what was so bad about this woman's full lips? Realistically there was nothing wrong them except that they belong to a women of color. Scrolling through the comment I read countless vulgar remarks, "wtf r these lips" one user said and "Holy shi*t I thought this was jay z" another comment said.. It is just crazy to me how something so simple can cause so much negative attention.

Given these two examples out of many, this just exemplifies society's double standards when it comes to race and beauty. Zendaya goes on to say, "My girl Amanda {Stenberg}, who is super dope, brought up another problem. She wish society loved black people as much as they love black culture. That's the truth. The credit get taken away from us when we make certain statements or when we do certain things. That is the frustration...." I could not agree more with this statement. Something that we as black women have naturally that is God given and have been a part of our history is easily overlooked and not seen as beautiful. For years we fought and still fight today to overcome the constant ridicule we receive from our peers for what they perceive as being "too dark" or having "big lips". Every so often we have to defend our natural features, while other races are praised and glorified for the same attributes that most of the time is not even naturally theirs. Yes it can be very frustrating and offensive when another group gets adored for something that we struggled to embrace after years of being teased about it. It is very mind boggling situation, but it is something that is very real. That is why it is very important to not wait for other people's approval and to have self-validation. We need to always encourage one another and empower each other. We already deal with the daily of life, so let us not bring each other down. Self love is the best love, but don't forget to show some love.

If you want the Zendaya's full interview with PopSugar click here

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