All About That Bass, All About That BS: The racial undertones of Meghan Trainor

The popular summer anthem “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor at first appears to be a lighthearted, body-positive song, if nothing indicating great musical virtuosity. However, upon closer examination, both the song and the music video bring up numerous issues of race and cultural appropriation, and definitely cross some significant racial boundaries. Continue reading

Selena Definitely Sucks

Cultural appropriation, the act of imitating something outside of one’s cultural group, is almost always discussed and framed as a problematic, even violent, practice. However, pop culture provides many examples of art containing elements that could be considered cultural appropriation, whether that is costume, imagery, dance styles, music styles, or instruments. We discussed in class that some kinds of appropriated art are considered less problematic than other pieces.  Continue reading

“Accidental Racist” or painful ignoramus?

Brad Paisley’s 2013 song “Accidental Racist” featuring LL Cool J is passed off as an innocent attempt to bridge the communication gap between white southerners and African Americans, addressing misconceptions about manifestations of southern pride and judgments made against black people. Reading the lyrics, one can recognize that Paisley truly believes his intent and message to be noble. Ultimately, however, Continue reading

A New Shad(y) On Cultural Appropriation

Lauryn Hill, Run-DMC, Nas, Tupac Shakur, and the Notorious B.I.G.

For many, these names exemplify the best of a musical genre known as hip-hop. As an amalgamation of the blues, reggae, jazz, and spoken word poetry, hip-hop 1) represents a momentous artistic achievement for the African American community and 2) has become an integral part of black culture in the United States. At its origin, hip-hop allowed minorities to engage in critical discussions through means not easily satisfied by any other musical genre. As seen through songs such as “Changes”, by Tupac and “Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z, hip-hop can be used as the impetus for serious discussions critiquing the United States’ political and socioeconomic systems. In recent media, there has been a plethora of questions raised about its appropriation by white artists. Continue reading