The Importance Of Hip Hop Culture

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Globalization and the acceptance of a multiracial community has resulted in the inclusion of many different cultures across North America. As a result of this cultural mix, people from different ethnicities have come to meld different cultural objects such as beliefs and values into their own identities. Although this inclusion of cultural objects from different cultures can be seen as signs of an inclusive society, it can also be regarded as cultural theft. For example, the theft of hip hop culture by white Americans is evident from their large presence in the subculture. Their participation in hip hop can be seen as appropriation due to several factors, including the past history of cultural theft, mockery and the lack of respect for the …show more content…
James Young, uses the example of the past appropriation of the styles and motifs from black culture by white people in his argument for the aesthetic quality of appropriating culture. As one of many examples of past appropriation, he writes, “Picasso was engaged in innovative content appropriation when he borrowed ideas from African carvers in such paintings as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)” (Young 2006:458). Although Young argues for the benefits of cultural appropriation, it should still be regarded as cultural theft because it takes away from other cultures, regardless of whether the appropriation is aesthetically beneficial or not. Furthermore, there are a multitude of examples throughout modern history of white imitation, stealing aspects of other cultures. Even though white people may be able to produce and contribute to hip hop music, it should still be considered appropriation due to the history of taking from other cultures and adding to their …show more content…
White representation of hip hop can be seen as inauthentic due to a falsified adaptation of many aspects of the subculture, including speech patterns. For example, Cecelia Cutler writes a case study on the adoption of African American Vernacular English by Mike, a white, middle-class youth who identifies with hip hop culture. In her case study, she notes that urban white youth learn colloquial hip hop language through firsthand experience with black culture and media, especially in the forms of music, movies, and the internet (Cutler 1999:434). As a result of learning from other sources rather than growing up in and absorbing the subculture from birth, these youth have imperfect forms of the colloquial language used by the original black producers of hip hop culture. The speech used by Mike and his friends are inauthentic imitations of the actual language used by black hip hop participants, as they attempt to adopt their speech to appear more accurately representative of the subculture. However, their attempts to appear as more true partakers of hip hop can also be seen as attempts to claim the culture as their own. Thus, the participation and attempted authenticity of white youth for hip hop culture is cultural

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