Guilty. 16 year old me is in fact, guilty of appropriating black culture. We didn’t use that term back then though. It was referred to as “wanna be” or “wigger”. And at 16, I could probably rationalized why I felt just as oppressed and targeted as black Americans.
I was raised by a single mother and we spent many years on government assistance when I was a child. I went to the lowest socioeconomic school in my city while living with a mother who couldn’t define socioeconomic.
But, I never went to bed hungry. I always had clothes to wear (although it was bought from Goodwill and was hideous).I was never targeted by law enforcement for the color of my skin. People didnt follow me around department stores to make sure I didn’t steal anything. No one locked their car doors as I walked by.
Sometimes people kept a close eye on me (and rightfully so) because I was a party animal and underaged drinker, but I lived so well compared to the lives in the beginning of the movie Straight Outta Compton.
I’m reviewing this movie because, well why the hell not? (There is really NOTHING off limits in this blog. I just kind fly by the seat of my pants.) God I love this soundtrack and the accuracy with which the artist were portrayed was jaw-droppingly precise! I wish they would have spent more time on Pac and Biggie but maybe their movie is in the works (fingers crossed)! I concur with the people saying this movie deserved Oscar recognition. I realize that rap is still frowned upon by many people, but that doesn’t dismiss the art entirly.
Listen to words, they way the thoughts come to them without hessitation. Make up a 12 line poem right now, that people would pay to hear. Go. Now post it in my comments.
Any lover of art and craft and creativity cannot deny the difficulty with which rap was commenly written. I understand that a large amount of rap is now written and composed over months to years and by college education caucasians. I also recognize that there are inappropriate and oftenly offensive lyrics in rap music.
So now consider the lives they were raised in, the culture that surrounded ever aspect of their lives.
I will never know poverty like the men portrayed in Straight Outta Compton, therefor I cannot judge them. I don’t have to listen to what offends me, but I can appreciate beauty when it does not describe my life. I can see beauty in the lives and culture around me.
So why is appropriating another culture so offensive? Can’t tell ya! How glad are you to have read this far for nothing?
But here’s what I think. If a black man walks into a Starbucks in Uggs and orders a PSL in his best valley girl accent, I’m going to feel a smidge offended. It would feel like he’s mocking me and my Uggs. I would feel like he sees me as a joke and insignificant as a successful contributing member of society.
Clear as mud? I concur. But thanks for listening!