Tag Archives: cultural appropriation

YouTube Wire: Free hugs, Harajuku and The Pimp Chronicles

by guest contributor Luke Lee, Racialicious’s senior YouTube correspondent

If there’s one fad that doesn’t seem to die down in online popularity it’s blackface. Despite all those millions of Weird Al “White and Nerdy” views and iTunes purchases (seriously, it’s been on the iTunes top 10 for a while. People aren’t just listening to it once and laughing, they’re buying the song.) people still feel the need to perform BWTAB particularly when sandwiched with a popular hip-hop song or a stereotypical rap beat. The so-called “Kings of MySpace” come in with their video which, simply, it sucks.

And speaking of music and music videos throwing around weird racial representations, we have of course good old Gwen Stefani who comes in with her “Wind It Up” music video which features those creepy Harajuku Girls (but in blonde hair this time). People, we’ve got to free the Harajuku/Gwenihana four!


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Caption this!

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

george bush ao daiI know it’s customary to wear the national costume of the hosting country at these summits, but I still find this photo hilarious. Thanks to Ji In for sharing!

President George Bush (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin wear ‘ao dai’ Vietnamese tunics at the APEC summit in Vietnam, Nov. 19, 2006. (Source)

I think we can come up with a better caption than that, don’t you think? Post a comment with your own caption! :)

Vibe Confidential revokes Justin Timberlake’s ghetto pass

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Apparently Justin Timberlake disses Janet Jackson in one of his new songs:

It’s not enough that he thinks he brought sexy back, but now word is that Justin Timberlake is talking smack about Janet Jackson on a new track. The song titled “Give It to Me”, which features Timbaland and Nelly Furtado, leaked to the Internet, and Justin’s lyrics are raising a few eyebrows:

“Could you speak up and stop mumbling / I don’ t think you’re even clear / When you’re sitting on the top / It’s hard to hear you from way up there / I saw you tryin’ to act cute on TV / ‘Just let me clear the air’ / We missed you on the charts last week / Damn, that’s right. You wasn’t there.”

So Vibe Confidential has decided to officially revoke his ghetto pass. They add: “Oh yeah, and he’s no longer allowed to rock a fade.” Hehe…

ghetto pass justin timberlake

“The White Rapper Show” to mock white emcees?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

white rapper show vh1VH1 will debut a new reality show in January called “Egotrip Presents the White Rapper Show,” hosted by white rapper MC Serch from the early 90s hip hop group 3rd Bass. From Variety.com:

Contestants will live together in the South Bronx as a series of challenges test their music talent and ability to mesh with black culture. Michael Hirschorn, the net’s exec VP of programming, emphasized that the show would be equal parts culture study and comedy…

Hirschorn was mum on specific situations and obstacles that the competitors will face, saying only that there would be both “creative and cultural trials.” Challenges could include anything from freestyle battles in Harlem’s Rucker Park to selling sno-cones in a hip-hop club.

But some white hip hop heads worry that the show will turn into a mockery of white rappers. (Hat tip to Rafi at Oh Word for the links.) MC Serch has been blogging about the upcoming show on his MySpace page and recently wrote this:

A white rapper cannot be considered a white rapper until he rips in front of a crowd of black people. I am not saying they all have to be black. You can have some spanish, some multi-racial kids mixed in there for flavor, I would even say Asain people. But if you are a white rapper that performs in front of a white crowd then you are not a rapper at all. You are a guy who is simulating what it feels like to rock a crowd.

A white rapper named Sage Francis responded to MC Serch in a long open letter on his own MySpace page, refuting Serch’s points:

If a white rapper cries in front of a black crowd and no one posts it on youtube, is he still emo? If it IS posted on youtube and a black person watches it…does that make him an official rapper? If your group was manufactured by someone who wanted to put two white rappers together and hopefully exploit the race situation…and then someone named Vanilla Ice comes around and gets exploited even BETTER than you…and you beat down a Vanilla Ice impostor in the video to a song that actually makes its way onto commercial charts…are you street? Are you hood? Are you an honorary black person if you co-opt enough black culture? How’s that high top fade doing these days?

It’ll be interesting to see how this show turns out, considering how many tricky issues of cultural appropriation and authenticity are involved. The Egotrip team has done some good shows for VH1, dissecting race issues in pop culture (huh, sound familiar? ;) ). They were the ones behind “TV’s Illest Minority Moments” and the three-part series “Race-O-Rama,” both of which I thought were pretty entertaining and for the most part, on-point.

Sofia Coppola feminism: dependent on class, race, and cultural subjugation

by guest contributor blackamazon, originally published at Having Read the Fine Print…

powdered wig sofia coppola marie antoinetteI have recently taken to using a term “Sofia Coppola feminism” and I intended to define it and then had an awesome/interesting time for the past couple of days but with the rising of the ugly head of this, felt it was apropos.

In short, SCF or “hipster feminism” is a parasitic feminism that not only ignores but is dependent on class, race, and cultural appropriation and subjugation. It is a feminism that demands emptiness (real or invented) of reflection, instead replacing it with self involvement. It requires that culture and emotion be reduced to tropes and materials so that possession of these trinkets is possession of the cultural significance. Removing it from actual experience and grounding it in blank slate whiteness and upper class (educationally or monetarily) wrenches it from the hands of those who experience it and tries to force them into a position of subjugation if they reject the positioning.

I came up with the term in my head when I was reading coverage of Marie Antoinette, Coppola’s most recent film. The article was in GQ and there was this kind of flip dismissal of the French booing

with words like

“It’s booing they do it more in Europe”

or

Well it’s art?

or

THEY’RE JUST JEALOUS

or

It’s what the French do….

Please understand I have not seen this film yet but my first reaction, being familiar with the director, the subject, and the director’s previous work is

VIVA LA FRANCE!

SCF ( the acronym) is a feminism that takes the idea “the personal is political” and runs AWAY with it in an awful, self absorbed, culturally decentering, yet culturally parasiting way.

SC’s three films have the proud distinction of being movies that I can’t sit through.

And I mean I can’t as in I watched The Virgin Suicides in bits and pieces over seven years before my rolling my eyes as the dumbshit kicks in.

Her talent is very visual and shehas an amazing facility for capturing ephemera.

Except she constantly tries to force this ephemera, this barely there-ness into some heavy social context.

The Virgin Suicides focuses on whiteness and pureness as the holy grail, meanwhile almost unmoors it entirely from the specificity of time frame, and the graveness of the matter. Continue reading