With the enormous impact Hip Hop has had on the world I can see how it could be hard not to pick up some it’s nuances. We can call people out for appropriating the culture and stealing all day long but if we don’t give the appropriators our love and attention they can’t prosper. Mainstream America only picks up on trends and fads that we acknowledge in Hip Hop Culture. Whoever we decide to put up on a pedestal mainstream America picks them up and whisks them away to popular culture. This isn’t anything new as mainstream white America has always looked to Black Cultural outlets for their “inspiration”. They want to run our greats into the ground until they are just as worn down as the elastic in a homeless man’s socks. This trend is not exclusive to Hip Hop Culture as the same has happened to Rock N’ Roll and Jazz. The fashion industry relentlessly tries their hand at this. You remember when cornrows made a comeback? Exactly, cornrows have always been in style. Cornrows are a staple in Black-American Culture, any type of braid for that matter, but as soon as mainstream white America gets one of their poster children to sport something of ours it’s a “new trend”. The Kardashians, Miley, Cyrus, Iggy Azalea, and the like are examples of mainstream white America’s poster girls. Hip Hop has been “twerking” for decades but because one of the aforementioned poster girls made an attempt to dance in that manner, twerking is now a household word that has been adopted by mainstream white America.
R&B, is the latest victim. For years Black-America accepted Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake and now they are the face of R&B as we know it today. Then Adele comes from the U.K. to the U.S.A. and people act as if we’d never heard anyone sing just as good if not better than her! Jazmine Sullivan and Anthony Hamilton have been here for years and because a lot of us are so ready to cosign for the other side we down play the talents of our own people and give props to those who aren’t nearly as talented. Not to say that Robin, Justin, and Adele are terrible singers but I’d rather sit back and listen to someone with authentic soulfulness sing. Eminem is a lyrical beast but if the Hip Hop community hadn’t given him the green light he wouldn’t have been as popular as he is today. If you are white in North America trying to become successful in Black Culture you can have mainstream white America as your PR team.
Hip Hop is the way it is now because we allowed the younger generation to run all over us. Granted a lot of us were incarcerated and suffered economically, socially, and educationally but the ones who made it started acting as if they were afraid of young people. Thus, the young people sensed that and took advantage of our vulnerability not knowing that they were putting themselves at a disadvantage. Iggy Azalea, Eminem, Macklemore, G Eazy, Logic, Drake, J. Cole, Post Malone, and Slim Jesus are just a few of mainstream white America’s favorite emcees. Don’t forget that Logic, Cole, and Drake are biracial and are “racially ambiguous”. Mainstream white America looks to us to greenlight their appropriation and most of us give it to them and once they’ve used it up they send in their lawyers for the “Hollywood divorce”. We have to stop giving white people who are participating in the culture a platform when they aren’t doing anything that we haven’t already done. A Black man named Lewis Latimer worked with Thomas Edison as a charter member of the Edison Pioneers but you just thought the poster child for mainstream white America invented the lightbulb.