I knew it would only be a matter of time before some white people tried to even the score with all the cultural appropriation accusations being herded their way these days, but I had no clue they’d use Beyoncé to do it (on Beyday no less).
Yesterday, the DailyMail ran a story on Beyoncé debuting new bangs for her 34th birthday — a simple post that should’ve conjured up no more than a quick commentary on the singer’s hair choice. Instead, some of the site’s readers tried to come for the queen in the worst way possible: accusing her of appropriating white women.
Take these comments from Allie in Yorkshire who said:
Funny how Beyoncé sporting a blonde wig/weave is not classed as ‘cultural appropriation’ hey? One rule for one….
So Kylie Jenner got a hardtime about her cornrows yet Beyoncé can emulate the Blonde Barbie doll look and it’s ok – double standards
MaryQuiteContrary (a perfect name given her comment below) in Los Angeles said:
She appears to be appropriating white culture.
And Me in London concluded:
For someone who is proud of her heritage, she’s looking very white these days.
Nice try, folks but you’re wrong yet again.
While the last criticism of Beyoncé certainly isn’t new — even from the black community — even if the singer has adopted a certain style to appeal to the masses, i.e. appear less threatening as a light-skinned blonde-haired black woman, in no logical world would this qualify as appropriation. Let’s go over the criteria, shall we?
For starters, appropriation, in the most general sense, is the adoption of certain elements of one culture by another. Neither Barbie nor white people have the monopoly on sideswept bangs in any hue so no dice there. And even if they did, these claims of cultural appropriation leave out the most basic pre-requisite for the labeling: the culture being borrowed from is being oppressed by the culture doing the borrowing. Sorry again white people but Beyonce’s hairstyle isn’t doing anything but getting your panties in a bunch because you’re grasping at straws to try to prove you all didn’t write the textbook on taking things from other cultures and claiming it for your own.
In the interest of being sympathetic, I’m going to assume most people aren’t aware of that oppression element of cultural appropriation and therefore don’t understand why we get so upset at the daily examples of it. You can’t limit the images of black people in all aspects of mainstream culture but give white people the OK when they start adopting certain mannerisms and styles native to black people; that’s appropriation. You can’t call a look “ghetto” on black women when you see them rocking it on the street but then claim it as your own creation on the runway and label it “cool.” And you can’t claim Beyoncé with black roots, a blonde swoop bang and tendrils falling to the side is appropriation; that’s ignorant.