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Name: Roman
Gender: Male
Hometown: Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Feb 12, 2015, 08:59 PM
Number of posts: 2,841

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Cultural appropriation isn’t (always) a bad thing

Cultural appropriation is a “trending” topic because of the pop-culture practice of exploring other – sometimes obscure and far-flung – cultures in order to enhance the latter’s visual and aural aesthetics. It is common for people to call out celebrities for “appropriating” a certain culture in the way they dress and, in the case of musical artists, also in their concert and music video set designs.

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, that’s apparently just the tip of the iceberg of Indian culture. On teenvogue.com, Priya-Alika Elias wrote, “But that’s just a tiny part of who we are, and that’s the only part the West ever chooses to depict. That depiction is the reason white people still ask if I’ve 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, Omise’eke 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 it’s a grave offense while others believe it’s 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 it’s negative, when it need not be.

On theatlantic.com, Jenni Avins has this to say, “In the 21st century, cultural appropriation – like globalization – isn’t just inevitable; it’s potentially positive. We have to stop guarding cultures and subcultures in efforts to preserve them. It’s naïve, paternalistic, and counterproductive. Plus, it’s 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?

Ellen Degeneres donates $500,000 to Detroit's Spain Elementary-Middle School

DETROIT - It's being called Ellen's "biggest, most generous gift ever."

The students and staff at Spain Elementary-Middle School thought they were staying after school to be a part of a documentary on the problems plaguing Detroit Public Schools Wednesday for The Ellen Show.

They were in for a massive surprise.

“I couldn’t breathe," the school’s principal Ronald Alexander said. "I started crying. I didn’t know what to do.”

Degeneres delivered the news to the children and staff from her LA studio.

The TV show host teamed up with Lowe's to donate a half million dollars to the school. The donation comes as the district gets national attention for the horrible condition in some classrooms.

A check for $250,000 was written out to the school to pay for improvements. $50,000 also went towards new technology and $200,000 will go towards services. Students and staff were also given gift cards.


Great news! This school was highlighted the most here in the Detroit area has being the absolute worst of the worst. Glad Ellen made this possible.
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