Ignorance Taking Form as a Need to Identify with Music

This post was sparked by a conversation between a White friend of mine and a White woman about Beyoncé’s song Formation. The woman believed that many White people felt betrayed by Beyoncé because her newest song did not allow for White people to relate to it. Additionally, this woman believed that the song depicted Black people as dominant (but she also believed the song had nothing to do with race). Although she did not fully consider Beyoncé’s intent in making the artistic decisions she did, her discussion of the relationship between White people liking music with White people relating to music … Read more

“Cultural Appropriation” – Where Do We Draw the Line?

One of the most widely used terms in discussions about race is the phrase “cultural appropriation.” And yet despite its frequent usage, cultural appropriation is one of the most controversial concepts. It is especially difficult to understand in conversation with the arts. The primary purpose of the arts is arguably to provide a medium for creative and emotional expression of the artist(s). The visual arts allow for creative expression devoid of auditory stimuli. The performing arts such as dance, theatre, and music allow for emotional expressivity with the added features of motion, sound, and/or words. Hans Christian Andersen once said … Read more

Don’t We All Culturally Appropriate?

In light of the recent posts regarding the performance of historical dance works by Muhlenberg College students as cultural appropriation, I find myself questioning cultural appropriation, its nature, what is appropriate, and what is not. To put it even more simply, can anyone really emulate someone else’s experience via performance? And if not, what is the point of performance, if it is not to express an experience of an artist? In my opinion, it comes out of individual perspective and individual accounts of the purpose behind art.  If someone of color sees a performance as offensive and a direct account … Read more

From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Racism and Representation in Entertainment

At some point this week, I came across a BuzzFeed post entitled, “The BuzzFeed Black History Reading List,” which included a series of essays and articles reflecting upon the end of Black History Month. One of the articles in this post shines an accusatory spotlight down on Hollywood’s use of Blackface today. After some initial disbelief and some precursory digging, I found the amount of performers who have performed in blackface appalling and the names I cam across equally as shocking. And, no, these were not performers from the Civil Rights Era-America of the 1960s; these were household names that are … Read more