Cultural appropriation is one of those topics that it feels like everyone with an Internet connection has an opinion on and everyone with a life in the public eye has goofed up on. When the latter happens, the people with the Internet connections come out in full force to talk about it and argue over it.
Young Justin Bieber has gotten flak for cultural appropriation in the past. His style of clothing has come under fire, as have music videos that feature white dancers doing traditionally black dances with nary a person of color in sight. It is his recent adoption of dreadlocks that has him in hot water this time, though, which is interesting considering his pal Kylie Jenner was facing the online appropriation committee over the exact same thing in February and July of last year.
Here is the Biebs with the hair:
And here are the people with the opinions:
Beyond the issue of cultural appropriation, Justin Bieber’s new hair just looks ridiculous in general ?? it really has me WEAK!
— princess nellie g✨ (@nellyfuhrelly) April 5, 2016
I understand people’s frustration by racial appropriation. But I’ll be damned if I let Justin Bieber’s hair ruin my day.
— Dav (@DuvidDee) April 5, 2016
Don’t get me wrong, I think @justinbieber‘s dreads are grim but probs a bit far to say that he is racist. It’s just hair pls calm down
— Laura (@lauramccue_) April 5, 2016
CAUCASIAN/EUROPEAN HAIR GETS MOLDY IF IT’S LEFT DREADED. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU WANT MOLD ON YOUR HAIR?!
— Loni Evora (@lonievora) April 5, 2016
I love Justin Bieber’s new hair, and no it is not “appropriation” people need to stop calling everything that.
— NETFLIX & PILL (@ilovepizza420) April 4, 2016
Psshhhh, Justin Bieber & his hair is racist. Pass it along
— Ethan (@HairDyeStains) April 4, 2016
— Bossip (@Bossip) April 4, 2016
And here he is with his defense:
Justin Bieber on wearing dreads: “[People say] you wanna be black and all that stuff, I’m like ‘its just my hair’.” pic.twitter.com/eR6cB3QCbL
— Shady Music Facts (@musicnews_shade) April 4, 2016
Finally, here is a succinct refresher on perceived cultural appropriation — especially as it relates to the co-opting of traditionally black hairstyles — courtesy of Amandla Stenberg:
Pay attention to this part:
The line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange is always going to be blurred but here’s the thing: Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves.
So, what do you think? Racist? Not racist? Appropriation? Not appropriation? Let us know!
[image via Instagram]
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.