Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Ruth Schwartz
Observer Staff Writer 

"Cultural Appropriation" is Made Up Liberal Bullsh*t, Says Musician George Clinton

Black artists are less averse than whites to the idea of whites "copying" or "stealing" styles

 

Newport Jazz Festival

George Clinton calls Cultural Appropriation a bogus concept

Regarding the concept of cultural appropriation, Black Funk legend George Clinton told Rolling Stone, "We need to get over this shit." Clinton compares the aversion felt by some White artists against creating music inspired by Black music to the much greater divide between intelligent species from different planets: "We gonna be dealing with aliens. You think black and white gonna be a problem? Wait till you start running into motherfuckers with three or four dicks! Bug-eyed motherfuckers! They could be ready to party, or they could be ready to eat us. We don't know, but we've got to get over this shit of not getting along with each other." [full interview: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/parliament-funkadelics-george-clinton-aliens-trump-lsd-w516975]

Clinton's sentiment is shared by other Black artists who seem less averse than whites to the idea of whites "copying" or "stealing" styles invented by Black Americans, or other descendents of the African diaspora across the world. Mbandi [https://mbandi.com/] hires instrumentalists of all different skin colors to perform arrangements of popular anglophone songs (think Ed Sheeran, John Legend, U2...) using European orchestral strings, Swahili vocals, U.S. jazz saxophone, and the pipa, a lute-like instrument from China, among other instruments from a wide variety of National origins.

Meanwhile American whites fret about being accused of "appropriating" the music of "other" cultures, which they consider to include the subcultures living in their own country such as African Americans. It is understood that in the twentieth century, the norm was for African Americans' work to be basically stolen by whites who made all the profit off of it: for instance, Elvis Presley's work is really exactly the same as that of Little Richard, who came first, but Elvis remains entombed as the "king" in common memory while Little Richard has been widely forgotten.

George Clinton calls Cultural Appropriation a bogus concept

These injustices were not okay, but it is important for a 2018 populus to understand that part of the reason they are so "woke" about this particular facet of cultural appropriation is because it is the facet that has been the best marketed, by personality tycoons (regardless of ethnic backgrounds) who have figured out that African American vs white American cultural appropriation makes for an outrage that sells albums. Meanwhile, where are all the people angry about Native American prayers being used in mainstream choir music without the profits going to the Native Americans? Where are all the protests against Mexican popular music, which necessarily involves appropriation as Spanish colonization and indigenous cultures such as the Aztecs blended to create musics and dances and religious beliefs containing copyright material from the Jesus fanatics and the sun-worshippers alike?

What Mbandi, George Clinton, and other independent-minded artists of today have shown with their fusion music is that so-called "cultural appropriation" should be re-branded as a mutual intercultural and inter-individual exchange, vital to any progress or continued sparks of life in an art field increasingly threatening to collapse under the creativity-sapping, and ultimately, racist demands that all music be freeze-dried and packaged neatly within the lines of outmoded racial and national borders.

 

Reader Comments
(0)

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018

Rendered 09/23/2018 08:05