Vern’s Venting: Appropriating Is Not Appropriate

Katy Perry in her music video “Dark Horse”

By Lavern Merriweather:

Popular singing stars Katy Perry and Taylor Swift have found themselves in some very hot water lately. Ms. Perry, in fact, seems to be racking up quite a number of offenses against people of color.

A few years back at the American Music Awards show, she – for some inexplicable reason – thought it would be cool to dress as a geisha. According to some Asian civil rights groups, it wasn’t. They didn’t appreciate Ms. Perry dancing around in traditional Japanese garb making a mockery of it.

She also didn’t make friends with the Muslim community after her video “Dark Horse”. In one scene of the video, a sacred talisman symbol of Allah was burned and destroyed as Katy sits there licking her lips and gyrating while dressed as – I’m guessing – Cleopatra. A number of Muslim groups took her to task about being so utterly disrespectful, as well they should have. Yet, Ms. Perry doesn’t seem to want to learn her lesson.

In her latest monstrosity called “This is How We Do”, Katy is wearing a cornrow hairstyle while spouting off nonsensical comments trying to sound more urban. I watched the whole video out of pure curiosity, because I happened to stumble on it while flipping channels. I would have been angrier if it wasn’t so pathetic.

I have to ask; why the hell is it that white performers think wearing a Negro hairdo and warbling supposed ethnic sayings makes them hip? Either that or she was deliberately trying to make herself look that stupid, because she thinks the people who normally talk that way or wear their hair that way are stupid, lest we forget how much shit black women get for our hair from the white elite. We get shit for damn near everything we do, but this is an especially sore spot. It really gets me how white folks think our mannerisms are so foolish. Yet, they always copy them.

I don’t know if Katy was genuinely expressing some inner black diva or not. All I know is that whatever she was trying to pull off, she failed miserably on all counts.

That brings me to America’s favorite sweetheart Taylor Swift. The media’s sickening refusal to let go of the VMA moment where she got rudely interrupted by Kayne aside; I actually like most of Taylor’s songs. At least Taylor, unlike some artists, writes and produces her own stuff. Still, that doesn’t get her completely off the hook with her video “Shake it Off”.

The video and song itself are very silly. However, the controversy comes when Taylor dons a backward cap while doing some goofy breakdance moves as a bunch of black hip-hop dancers straight out of an 80’s movie twirl and spin on their heads behind her. But that’s not the worst of it. She then decides to do some fake twerking. In what is probably the most she will ever spend around Negroes in her entire lifetime, Taylor – surrounded by a bunch of black females – starts imitating the newest dance sensation. Once she realizes she can’t quite get it right, our plucky heroine just shrugs, then gives up.

When a few critics took Ms. Swift to task, a number of white female bloggers came to her defense. One woman even pointed out that Taylor has several forms of dance in the video, and she can’t perform any of them as well as the back-up dancers. I’m not disagreeing, and I’m not here to criticize or question whether Taylor was making fun of black people or not. I don’t know what the hell her intentions were. Maybe it was all done in good harmless fun. However, it really isn’t up to white person to tell us how we should feel about their imagery of us, particularly when you take into account the long standing and negative history of black folks portrayals by white artists.

Much of it today is still seen as entertaining like the film “Birth of a Nation” which was a recruiting tool for the Klan masquerading as a movie. At least that’s the way I see it, especially since the original title for the film was “The Klansman”. So, if I come off as little less than trusting of your motives, then that is my right.

Another white pop icon and repeat offender Justin Timberlake is also feeling the heat for his use of the slang term ‘ninja’. I found out recently that the word ‘ninja’ is supposed to be a replacement for the word ‘nigga’, which was derived from the highly offensive n-word as – I suppose – a way to make the word less vile. Apparently, Justin doesn’t want to stop making bonehead decisions. Either that, or he must like the taste of foot, because he keeps putting his in his mouth. E channel correspondent Maria Menonous felt the need to protect Justin by telling us overly sensitive Negroes that we should just get over it. Since Maria thinks that Justin didn’t mean any harm by his thoughtless behavior, we whiny black folks should stop complaining about every little perceived insult. Well if some overpaid, privileged, arrogant white woman believes that, then we black folks better take heed.

Like I stated before, it is not – I repeat – NOT for a white person to tell black people what we should or shouldn’t take personal offense to. That also goes for any non-black person, especially when one of them has their very own ‘Negro moment’. We will be the first group that they bitch to, as opposed to the white people that actually said or did something obnoxious to begin with.

Another thing that gets on my very last nerve is talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and her wannabe “Soul Train” bullshit. Perhaps she actually is a fan of all that black folks dance music that she plays every show. Still, from where I sit, it looks utterly phony and contrived. If I got my own TV talk show and came out strutting my fancy moves to music by white artists, I doubt highly that I would be met with her same enthusiasm. Black folks get enough crap for daring to step outside the box by appreciating such acts as AC/DC or Nirvana. Yet, DeGeneres can play black folks tunes all she dang well pleases.

Funny how we are so beneath white people but they still manage to find our music or mannerisms appealing. The so called fist bump was originally named ‘knuckles’ and ‘daps’. However, the minute it caught on with white people ,they just had to change the name. It’s like the white male twin comedy duo Randy and Jason Sklaar once said “Black people create something. White people cultivate it. Then, white people ruin it”. That about sums it up as well as anybody could.

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19 thoughts on “Vern’s Venting: Appropriating Is Not Appropriate

  1. I somehow wonder if your complaint isn’t more – entirely, possibly? – based up the fact that. whenever Whites adopt Black behaviors, those behaviors, no matter how aberrant to normative society, become normalized and this forces your sort to have to go out and find some other, preferably even more outre, means of maintaining your segregation from America.

    On the other hand, from a purely aesthetic point of view, it IS pretty stupid for these artists to try be “street.”

      1. While I agree that segregation was the idea of Whites and that, in days gone by, Blacks tended towards wanting integration, I don’t agree that either is case today.

        These days – really anytime after the “Civil Rights” era – Whites have wanted Blacks to integrate and assimilate into normative American society and Blacks have refused to do so – to the point of labeling their own that do as being “too white.”

        You see, that part of the difference between us. We want you to appropriate our culture and you want to do anything but that, despite your refusal to do so being self-destructive since segregation ended.

      2. The way I heard it, whites largely didn’t want to have anything to do with blacks after the Civil Rights Era, and the same holds true today. If it wasn’t true, there wouldn’t be so many neighborhoods still isolated from each other based on race. And from what I heard, some white communities run whenever blacks move in due to the racist myth that more blacks mean more crime. Plus, there would be more blacks hired in today’s business world. But there’s still discrimination in hiring practices against blacks. Yet, blacks are blamed for getting jobs because of “affirmative action”. Strange how hiring and promoting white people almost all the time is somehow not racial, but hiring and promoting black people is.

        Why should we adapt your culture into our own? Why can’t we embrace who we are? And frankly, what makes your culture so special. As a matter of fact, what is white culture?

        Here’s the deal, in the end, segregation didn’t start with us. My people learned it from your people’s behaviors and disdain toward us throughout history. So, you shouldn’t accuse us of something your people practically forced us to do.

    1. What Brotha said and the fact that they became more appealing to you ONLY after you start using then abusing them. You hated them 10 minutes ago but now all of a sudden you like them? Make up your mind.

  2. Here we go,again. Beautiful art of Cakewalk destroy by garage call Blackface.Ethnic Cleansing Time.They use to call black music-JungleMusic.Secretly admire the POWER within ourselves.It take years to grab something beautiful by getting a small fly to betray everybody for crumbs.This event is the foundation of proof on nonpoc’s technique to study,divide,conquer and destroy. We’re sitting on breaking point stage of conquer. Sometime the dominance group get jealous and want to showoff or destroy us for fun.

  3. I agree with all these points. Notice that since Iggy and the other white women artists are becoming some novelty by dappling in Hip-hop the rest will follow until the waves are full of them. I peep game and I laugh. I blame these women and society, and the color struck idiot men in hip-hop putting them on. Since when does one need to be offensive to be shocking? Smh! I like the shake it off song but even from the thumbnail I knew not to watch the video. Once they kill it[hip-hop] with fire they will go back to some how owning it or claim it is the only evil in the world or whatever they say.

  4. the truth is Mama Vern, Whites love black culture but hate black people, they are jealous of our creativity and soul and want what we have…… Everything about us reminds them of everything they will never be or have….. But case in point, to the person who brought up integration and the civil rights, most blacks weren’t interested in integration until Martin Luther King raised his voice whereas Malcolm X preached against it. Also before the civil rights movement and integration, our Black Nation was very much intact it was only after Civil Rights and Feminism that we began to fall as a people

    1. This might sound odd to you coming from me, but, on the matters of the civil rights movement and integration, I agree with you to a large extent.

      Indeed, it seemed that before the “Civil Rights” movement Blacks were actually closer in overall culture to the rest of America. You all didn’t start pushing so hard to be as different and offensive or disturbing until after physical integration happened.

      However, that ship already sailed, broached, and sunk. Both Americans and the “Black Community” have to deal with what is as opposed to what was and was lost.

      1. Again, we were FORCED to be what white people wanted black people to be. Some accepted it. Some don’t. Still, those that don’t also wanted to be treated with the same rights and privileges as whites, and that’s still true today.

        The ship hasn’t sailed, if we’re still on board. And we can’t sit here and say that what happened in the past stayed in the past or has no effect on the present. People only fool themselves if they think that the sins of history have either discontinued or had long-term ramifications. If one were to get into a terrible accident, and survived, you can’t say that the wounds, physical and mental, doesn’t exist, especially if it’s in plain sight.

      2. @ nidotopianwarrior

        I figured it would. I am, however, a strong proponent of Separate But Equal with a unqualified admission that our previous attempt at that were separate but NOT equal.

        If we could give you your own State / Nation – perhaps something akin to Canada’s Autonomous Zones – I’d be all in favor of it.

        I figure the “Blacks” who want to BE Americans could stay and the Blacks who most wanted to be “Black” could relocate to those zone, moving themselves away from “White Rule.”

        I just don’t see how it could happen and, quite frankly, the government’s history with such treaties isn’t exactly stellar.

      3. why should black folks have to move because YOU can’t handle us? Maybe you should move out the way more for us.

      4. Why should an American move out to make room for the Blacks who choose not to be Americans?

        Think about it – if you can – I’m not talking about race; I’m talking about culture incompatible cultural groups, groups that have value to their own peoples if not their opposition.

      5. Think about it – if you can – I’m not talking about race; I’m talking about culture incompatible cultural groups, groups that have value to their own peoples if not their opposition.

        Your a white racist sack of shit, admit it. Quit your lying clown!

      6. Stop fooling yourself Jonolan, there’s no such thing as an “American” (aside from the citizenship aspect) . African people were in North America way before the Mongols (commonly called “Native Americans” today) made their way there from East-Asia. There’s no such thing as “American culture” either, it’s a mish-mash of different cultures piled into “one” at best.

        Secondly, you need to check your terminology. “Black” is a misnomer. It doesn’t have any relevance whatsoever. Since when did Africans descend from a color? What is the land which these so-called “black people” hail from called? Blackistan? Blacktopia? Negroland? What’s the capital of this country/nation? Blacksville? Blackburg? Ciudad de Negro? You’ve taken their cultural heritage (African) and reduced it to a color. “Black” is an ADJECTIVE, it’s not a noun. If you have a problem with American-Africans, I suggest you save up some cash and move back to the Eurasian steppes from whence you came.

  5. I am sick uP to my ears about these stupid wannabe’s Taylor and Katy-it is all I can do not to toss my cookies when these “artistic videos” of recycled nostalgic mish-mashes of the 80’s and 90’s appear on my tv screen when theie so-called “music” is played, Bleeeccchhh! lol Great and precise post, Vern!

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