Campus Life, News

African Student Union discusses cultural appropriation, appreciation

Within the last year, multiple celebrities have been called out for appropriating black culture. Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg made a video titled “Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows” that addressed the cultural appropriation of historically black hairstyles such as braids, twists and dreadlocks, and criticized other celebrities for not acknowledging the appropriation of black culture.

The members of the University of Miami’s African Student Union (ASU) took a different approach to the issue Wednesday night, questioning whether black Americans can appropriate African culture. A forum called “Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation” poised questions to the audience regarding black-American cultural appropriation and African cultural appropriation.

During the discussion about whether black-American culture was being appropriated by non-black people, most in the audience agreed that it was. When it came to the question of whether black Americans can appropriate African culture, the audience did not come to a clear consensus. However, they did agree that it was a slippery slope between appreciation and appropriation.

“People try and say that it’s appropriating, but it’s really appreciating, because black Americans are just trying to feel connected because they don’t have a belonging,” said freshman Courtney Hamilton. “They’re just trying to find their identity through the African garb, the African clothing, the African tradition, so they can’t steal something that’s already a part of them.”

Senior Miriam Jock was born and raised in Nigeria, coming to the United States for college. She said that black Americans have the right to appropriate African culture if they are doing it to accept the fact that they came from Africa and are trying to connect with their roots.

However, she stated that black Americans should be fully invested in Africa to avoid appropriation.

“Not just appropriate the good and leave the bad,” Jock said.

As the night continued, the conversation provided both sides with insight into the other’s perspective on the matter of cultural appropriation and appreciation.

“Normally, we have just Africans in the ASU, but talking to the black Americans I get a different perspective. It made me be less judgmental,” Jock said.

February 17, 2016

Reporters

Alexis McDonald


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Jesus Luzardo had yet to throw a single pitch as a professional baseball player in 2016 when he unde ...

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Mark Richt has led the Miami Hurricanes back into the national college football conversation during ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and his vaunted 2018 signing class, nicknamed #Storm18, should ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

The Canes are well represented across the nation this summer with players competing in each of the t ...

The University of Miami had four student-athletes selected to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award ...

The University of Miami's Symone Mason closed out the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships with a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.