We're all about festival style, the vibrant colors, funky textures, and people pushing the stylistic limits. But as music festivals have grown in popularity, the normalization of cultural appropriation has peaked too. Let's get even weirder with our style this year, but more respectful towards cultures. Ditch the bindis and corn rows, and opt for more creative options- think glitter and pink/peach tinted hair instead.
We reached out to people on Instagram and asked when they feel their culture is disrespected. Here are some short paragraphs from a few girls:
"I think that many cultures are told subliminally, through media that their culture is great as long as they aren't the one partaking in it. Prior to developing self confidence I felt very self conscious about my hair and what I do with it. That's one of the harmful effects of cultural appropriation. I used to never wear braids, Bantu knots or anything like that out of fear of being seen as “ghetto.” In our society African American women who do these hairstyles are usually depicted as being inarticulate, illiterate and lacking in social graces. I think that's something that needs to change. Thankfully I've developed enough knowledge and pride in myself to be able to wear my hair in any way that I like and to be myself in general. However, for girls who have not been so lucky cultural appropriation makes them feel ashamed"
"I'm Khanya and I'm 15 and I'm black. I live in South Africa. I am finding more and more that after Apartheid a lot of people that are not of colour find it cool to use different 'trademarks' from each culture without stopping to learn about us. I understand that we are supposed to be a rainbow nation but there must be another way to do so with some understanding of the background of all our cultures so that we remain respectful."
"I'm part Mali and Liberian and notice A LOT of appropriating of black culture, for right now I'm going to just point out the appropriating of black hair. It's hurtful to see white girls wearing dreads and cornrows when I know black girls get put down for it. The same white audience that loves celebrities shoots with afros calls black girls who wear their hair natural "ghetto" and "ratchet"."
We aren't bringing this topic up to get mad at anyone, but to open the minds of people who aren't yet educated! Trends can be fun, but the traditions from a culture aren't trends. We completely understand how the line could become fuzzy because of the normalization of cultural appropriation in the celebrity/influencer community. But lets work on educating ourselves and others instead of just excusing it, maybe celebrities will catch on.