Today’s lesson will be about appropriation.
The appropriation that I will speak on has nothing to do with the simple “taking something of use from someone without permission”. This (mis)appropriation is culturally based: the adoption or use of elements from one culture to another. Typically, this is harmful because it bastardizes the original form for usage purposes. And that usage is normally taken from a smaller culture that tends to be castigated as negative in the first place.
Let us take a look at a clear example of recent existence: Miley Cyrus. Before having a change of heart, Miley was such the dedicated Memphis rap lover. In her younger years, she was a surprisingly/unsurprising fan of Three Six Mafia. Eventually, she would date Mike Will Made It, start making “edgier” music, “twerk” with a bunch of black women in videos/on stage, and cater to the “urban” market. Some would say Miley was turned out; others would feel she was marketing for a buck.
It seems that the latter was correct.
Miley pulled the full 180 on top of the 180 just to go back to her original roots: country/rock/pop/whatever music. In an interview, she noted that rap music “was too much ‘Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my cock’—I am so not that”. And no, many people did not take this sentiment lightly. It became quite unnerving for many that she used hip hop culture, became a caricature of it, and then dismissed it for having the same elements she stereotyped it for. If anything, Miley became the perfect example of cultural appropriation 101: adoration, abuse, and then admonishment.
As Miley left, in came Katy Perry.