By Kayla Anderson
At this time of year many college students are either studying for or recovering from midterms. While we trudge through the rest of the quarter, we at least have spring break to look forward to.
As Southern California college students, many of us and/or our peers will be headed to Coachella. This year’s lineup boasts the most hip-hop and R&B artists to date, while maintaining a predominately white audience.
Prominent black artists such as The Weeknd, Beyonce and Vince Staples will be taking the stage in the spring.
Sadly, Coachella has been a breeding ground for cultural appropriation in the past and I can think of no better time than Black History Month to address the issue of partaking in another person’s culture. There are problems that arise when partaking in
another’s culture. Times may have changed, but the situations that we find ourselves in, did not. A sociology study conducted by Walter Edward Hart of Texas A&M University, found that 80% of all rap is consumed by a White audience.
There is also the acknowledgment of the shift in the purpose of rap music to cater to non-black audiences. A more delicate sound was created as not to offend suburban sensibilities.
In an article on how music executives gear rap music toward White people, Tom Barnes explains their method. He says that by removing the violent and misogynistic aspects of rap music, pop rappers and white rappers are credited with saving the genre. Meanwhile, there are plenty of traditional hip hop artists who do the same thing.
This expansion of the rap repertoire has made it so that white people are now the majority at hip-hop concerts.
The reasoning behind this phenomenon is due to many factors, but regardless of who engages in whose culture, showing appreciation of a different culture is acceptable. Conversely, when it’s disrespected it can cause a lot of damage.
A lot of the time white people and other non-Blacks are not being respectful at hip-hop concerts. Acts of disrespect include wearing black styles as a costume and saying the “N” word and other black slang without fear of consequence. This creates a problem for Whites and Blacks alike.
The goal is to get non Blacks to realize that when they are participating in these events it is as appreciators and consumers, not as creators and or people meant to relate.
Additionally, non-black hip hop fans should also accept that they did not come up with these trends and shouldn’t try to manipulate them to fitin with the mainstream media. When it comes to consuming the culture of a group of people it does well to stray from costumes and gimmicks.
If they are to participate in a culture they must be respectful and know what the trends they partake in come from. It would also do one well not to succumb to stereotypes.
With the widespread popularity of Black culture in music, vernacular and style we must remember that it is a culture and should be respected as such.
Valerie Mancia / The Poly Post
Coachella has been a breeding ground for cultural appropriation in the past
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