Miley Twerking, Khloe’s Braids & Why We Need To Embrace Our Culture
According to the Huffington Post, our favorite famous-for-being-the-sister-of-a-woman-who-is-largely-famous-for-nothing-in-particular, Khloe Kardashian has channeled the innovative spirit of the late, great tech-god Steve Jobs, and has sent forth to the world a new hair trend called braids. All hail the power of the Kardashian name!
From the Huffington Post
“The Kardashian sis debuted her own version of the half-braided head on Wednesday evening, showing off her ‘do at an event for her family’s new line of self-tanner. Khloe drew attention with her sheer shirt (hello, bra!) but even more so with her braids, which reminded us of Jennifer Aniston’s hair at the Spike Guys’ Choice Awards last week. Carmen Electra has also rocked lopsided braids several times over the past few months, giving us the creeping feeling that this fancy update to the Skrillex-inspired hairstyle is becoming a trend.”
If ever there was a proof that we live in a WASP-focused culture, it’s that. Black girls have been putting braids in a variations and patterns since likely the inception of time – no one declares it a trend. White women come along and slap a couple of half-hearted braids in their hair and, with the wave of a wand, which could only be mimicked by the color-cueing commands of the great and powerful Wiz (the Black version), it’s considered not only a trend but also representative for all.
It’s no wonder so many people of non-WASP descent subscribe to the many philosophies of ‘white is always right’ and dark skin as nothing more than a synonyms of crime, poverty, immortality and all other pathologies. A couple of months ago, I drew the ire of a lot of readers to a piece I wrote in which I dared suggest that two black teenage girls did not deserve to be beat mercifully on camera by their father for twerking, especially considering that twerking is not as perverse as folks in the community want to believe. But rather follows a long tradition of cultural dances movements centered on the behind, which too have a long history throughout the Black Diaspora. People thought I was mad – among other things – for the mere suggestion. And some even went to great intellectual lengths to disassociate themselves from the immoral or bad behavior.
But that was a couple of months ago. Today, many of those same folks are raging mad again; this time about Miley Cyrus, her twerking across mainstream America and how everyone is loving it – well mostly everyone. You would think that folks would be happy she has taken this “ratchet” perversion of everything “virtuously black” off of our hands. But nope, folks are still pissed. Now it’s appropriation, they say. Now she is making a mockery of our culture, they shouted. Now she is a selective thief, stealing the fun parts of the black experience, in hopes of appearing cool and rebellious, but not bearing the brunt of the responsibility, they argue. All true however, how can we blame others from picking up the cultural baton when we give it away so cheaply and freely?
Since before our ancestors reached the shores of the original 13 colonies, folks of largely darker skin tones (as well as other non-WASPy differences), had their cultures demonized, removed or altered, in some instances violently, and were forced to adopt the culture of their colonizers – included religion, education and history and language – for the purpose of exploitation. That was colonialism. Yet as we have progressed onwards, hundreds of years into a future, mostly free of the sort of White oversight and exploitation, which ruled and basically developed the Western world, the beliefs of these ideologies still linger on in the hearts, minds and deeds of many of the same oppressed folks, who have conditioned themselves to believe that by internalizing many of the values and principles, it will provide them some leverage in this WASP-centered, thus inherently exclusionary, racist system. When in reality, all it does is reinforce the original oppression. That is called neo-colonialism.