Black is Not Yours

Did you know that it is unethical for people of other races to appropriate imagery, ideas, and even stereotypes that are “black”?? I didn’t know that ideas of  “blackness” belonged solely to Black people. By the way, who says what is black and what isn’t??

A little back story. A local sculpture and performance artist (who shall not be named) had a performance a few weeks ago that involved singing, clapping, as well as call-and-response. This artist is a white male, handsome, fantastic musician, and originally from the east coast. Someone (who shall not be named) is a female, latina, catholic writer who was offended by his performance that she felt appropriated Black music, “Black church traditions” and themes that he had no right to appropriate.

1. What is Black music?

I didn’t know that Black people had Black music. Sure, we have music in which we dominate. PAUSE: I truly truly believe that record labels search for some of the most dumbest, simplest rappers, and horrible singers that are black. They use these talentless people to sell products, make fools out of themselves and potentially a slew of people that resemble them. Don’t believe me?? There is a rapper with an ice cream cone tattooed on his face, there is a big bootied woman with pink hair and too white teeth that speak nothing about war, love, community…NADA. When did music become about the deliverer and less about communicating a message? The big bootied pink wig wearing chick I’m referring to, can’t hold a flame to Lauryn Hill in terms of lyrics and content….just sayin. PLAY: The artist who was accused of parodying “Black church and culture” played soulful, funk, music while singing. I didn’t  know this was a crime and neither did he.Oh and did we forget about singers like Whitney Houston  sang an all time favorite love song, “I will Always Love You” was written by Dolly Parton? So was Whitney appropriating white singing and culture??

2. Black churches??

I always had a problem with the idea of “Black Churches”. Thanks to years and years of brain washing (and Tyler Perry), people have come to believe that “Black Churches” are these animated places of worship where people participate in call-and-response, “catch the holy ghost”, scream/shout, clap, cry, say things like ” Thank you Lord Jesus!Amen! Hallelujah! ajdasfhgingsoghrgn (speaking in tongues)” and dance in the aisles. These ideas are so limiting its ridiculous. Do you think in New Oreleans ( a city with one of the largest populations of Black Catholics) have people that speak in tongues and the priest jumps up and down in the pulpit?? Or what about in Atlanta or Chicago where there are large amounts of Black Muslims. Do you think in between prayers and kneeling that they shout and clap?

3. The right to Appropriate?

In this day and age, where ” information is the newest religion” (Talib Kweli Quote) can we seriously limit our thinking to Black, White, etc. Am I limiting my blog by focusing on these ideas?In other words, if the appropriation of music, imagery, philosophy etc is limited to our race, what do we do now? The artist who shall not be named, was reassured that his performance was not racist nor was it a parody of  “Black culture and ideas”. And he can play funk music and Nina Simone all day everyday if it makes him happy. He shouldn’t be limited to music that was created by “white” people from the east coast, nor should he have to explain himself to someone who has already made up their mind about him. After all, what would be the point? It was a strange and unfortunate conversation that needed to happen. We all took a second, third, fourth look at the work and saw no sign of racism or parody. For the young lady who shall not be named…. Get a grip! How are you offended by the “Black Church” appropriations as a Latin Catholic Woman?! And how dare you tell me or anybody else that A,B,C equals “Black church” ?Psh Please!

I enjoyed the performance AND the 3 beautiful Black woman that  accompanied me  also enjoyed themselves immensely. Kudos to the the artist who shall not be named, you did a great job!


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