Cultural appropriation isnít (always) a bad thing
On the one hand, the clip is a whirlwind view of the colorful and exotic side of India, complete with peacocks, dilapidated movie theaters, the Holi festival and a child dressed as a Hindu deity. It also portrays Beyonce as a Bollywood superstar drenched in jewels, intricate fabrics and henna. The video is a visual spectacle. It really does make you want to go to India to see and experience all that. Where do I sign?
On the other hand, thats apparently just the tip of the iceberg of Indian culture. On teenvogue.com, Priya-Alika Elias wrote, But thats just a tiny part of who we are, and thats the only part the West ever chooses to depict. That depiction is the reason white people still ask if Ive ever charmed a snake. The India of HFTW is an India that bears very little relation to the real India, which is complex beyond belief.
But then, Omiseeke Natasha Tinsley and Natassja Omidina Gunasena insist that Beyonce as a Bollywood star is not cultural appropriation on time.com. They write, In fact, while folks in the South Asian diaspora point fingers at Beyonce for her inauthenticity, others expressed how empowering it is for them to see a dark-skinned woman portraying a Bollywood star.
The point of it all is that cultural appropriation is as subjective as subjective can get. Some think its a grave offense while others believe its not a big deal. Still others say it can actually be a good thing. However comical, this definition from urbandictionary.com seems to be the one that really sums up the whole debate as it stands right now:
The ridiculous notion that being of a different culture or race (especially white) means that you are not allowed to adopt things from other cultures. This does nothing but support segregation and hinder progress in the world. All it serves to do is to promote segregation and racism.
Depriving members of a particular culture, even a dominant and privileged one, the opportunity to pick up aspects of another culture does nothing to encourage the former to have a deeper understanding of the latter. Instead of bridging distances and promoting global interaction, accusations of cultural appropriation only make people afraid to explore outside their own culture because of the perception being lobbied that its negative, when it need not be.
On theatlantic.com, Jenni Avins has this to say, In the 21st century, cultural appropriation like globalization isnt just inevitable; its potentially positive. We have to stop guarding cultures and subcultures in efforts to preserve them. Its naïve, paternalistic, and counterproductive. Plus, its just not how culture or creativity work. The exchange of ideas, styles, and traditions is one of the tenets and joys of a modern, multicultural society
More cultural crusader nonsense. I understand and respect some Indians who find the video offensive, but I also understand and respect those that found it a beautiful tribute to their culture. To politicize it is in this global world is just so tiresome.
Plus I found Beyonce to be absolutely ravishing in the video and aspiring. I'm sure some of her fans, especially young black girls, will take some interest in Bollywood and Indian cultures in general from the MV itself. Afterall that is how cultural exchange works no?
an aspect of Indian culture appropriated from the US. Outside of blatantly insulting stuff like the old minstrel shows, so-called cultural appropriation is a positive enhancement for all.
Especially at points of interaction.
I think one should be bright enough to distinguish between negative/harmful stereotyping or ripping off, and being genuinely influenced and appreciative.
being appreciative and influenced from other cultures is considered a racist/bigoted act. If it's not henna, its Dia De Los Muertos makeup or taking a yoga class or cafeteria food not being authentic enough. It's gotten ridiculous and tribalistic.
Only positive I can think of is that seems like a lot of people have collectively rolled thier eyes at the narrative being pushed by the likes of Buzzfeed and Vox. The stink over HOTW video is'nt really that big. Folks are tired of these -usually- white owned clickbait sites telling them what the new flavor of selective outrage of the month is it seems.
and has been since the dawn of humanity.