When your culture is on point, but apparently your humanity is not.
I’m not sure how many more times the infamous, and frequently revised, Paul Mooney quote can pop into my head, but it feels like every time I look at one of my social media timelines, all I can hear is, “Everybody wants to be black, but no one wants to be black.”
We’ve had the ‘Kylie Jenner challenge’ to obtain bigger lips, Allure tried to pull off a race-swiping Rachel Dolezal-inspired afro tutorial directed towards a particular demographic (because now you know…), and well, Iggy Azalea. Now, Elle Canada seems to have found it fit to name traditional African dashikis, “the newest It-item of note” in a tweet featuring songstress Jhene Aiko (serving) as a key model. After getting shamed to shit by #BlackTwitter (and rightfully so), the tweet magically vanished into the Twitterverse. With the success of the African print centric Ron Bass collection offered by Forever 21 this past year, it was only a matter of time before mass media got their hands on the beautiful, cultural garment for mainstream, fast-fashion consumption.
At this point, these increased occurrences of appropriation are eye-roll worthy and exhausting. It’s all exhausting. If it’s not news of black culture getting swiped for mass-consumption, it’s a headline about another African-American getting killed on the fly. I really do not want to know what could be next.
Serving in the effort to fight off the feverish ignorance running rampant, thank God for culture representatives like Kat Blaque dropping culturally-straightening gems that simultaneously act as tea; Janelle Monae and the whole Wondaland Records crew utilizing their talents to create protest records and educate the masses of black history through their style and movement; Franchesca Ramsey utilizing a massive outlet to address and breakdown tough racial issues on her web series MTV Decoded; the hilarious Kid Fury and Crissle consistently approaching the common issues of race from a highly intelligent and entertaining perspective on their podcast, “The Read”; and even, Buzzfeed for allowing black voices and stories to be heard correctly and authentically from, you know, actual people of color.