Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation

By Katarina Ziervogel

Cultural appropriation is when an individual uses an object, idea, or tradition from another individual’s culture for their own profit. However, one may argue that they wanted to use it because of how beautiful it is or how necessary it is to share one’s culture.

At music festivals happening this summer of 2019, several festival goers may find it tempting to dress themselves up with Native American headdress or the Bindi forehead because it is determined to be fashionable. What they do not realize is how valuable those are to the Indigenous people’s culture or to Hindu and Jain women which are commonly worn in Southern Asia, and wearing them for fashion degrades its significant value.

Certain musicians seek out innovative ways to express their own music through music videos, performances, fashion, or on their social media. It is of the essence for each musician to discover a style that relates to an artistic production of their music. It sets up a genre for the music, and for the fans of their music to discover themselves in a creative way too. While they are highly encouraged to do so, it is important to understand and acknowledge what kind of style to use as a physical expression. If it belongs to somebody’s culture that doesn’t belong to the musician’s or the fans, then it is considered an act of cultural appropriation.

The New York Timespublished an article, which defends those who participate in cultural appropriation. This article by K. Tempest Bradford captures an excellent explanation of how cultural appropriation is indefensible and it is very spot on.