Discussion: Cultural Appropriation – Should We Be Mad?

Rap is once again at the forefront of national discussion!
Many of the elements inherent to the genre within the last two decades have become “trendy”, including grills, athletic-inspired ‘fits, and twerking. ABC News just released an article titled, “Twerking: A Scientific Explanation”, which recently set the Internet ablaze:


The article describes twerking as a, “a complex, technical subject“, then goes into exact steps on how to complete the dance move from a scientific standpoint. Looking for someone to thank for this almost academic article? All fingers point to Miley Cyrus, who took her best stab at the movement during her lively VMA performance:

Katy Perry used the awards show red carpet as the forum for trying on her new grills. Madonna has also worn the flashy mouthpieces in the past month.

katy perry roar grill

Last, but not least among these “trends” is sport-inspired attire. Have people been wearing jerseys, snapbacks, and Jordans since they were invented? Yes, but let’s face it: rappers and athletes in the 90’s and early years of the first decade of the new millennium really turned the pieces into everyday attire.




I’m all for folks immersing themselves in the parts of other cultures that they genuinely find interesting. I spent a good portion of my college years doing Bollywood and Filipino dancing and I’m currently wearing my chandelier earrings from Dubai.

What makes me angry is when the customs of other cultures are portrayed in a negative light for amusement–and mocked. Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance? A mockery. Katy Perry’s grill usage? She’s currently dating a man who likened his private parts to a KKK member, so there’s that.

I have no desire to teach my friends of other races to twerk, do the real harlem shake, or to go grill shopping with them. My friends also aren’t silly enough to ask. Despite our different social mediums and heightened connectedness all around the globe, it seems we’re all pretty low on cultural awareness. Before we embark on wearing a bindi or take our next recreational outing to try out a dance craze we spotted on Youtube, a little research wouldn’t hurt now, would it?
miley cyrus twerk team
What do you think about cultural appropriation? Should we be mad or should we just get over it?



Faith Cummings is a senior editor and staff writer for Fashion Bomb Daily.

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