The music of hip-hop artists and other in the African-American community aren’t safe from the glaring obsession of whiteness. The Kardashian family apparently felt it would be hip to shoot their own version of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize” music video during a trip to the Dominican Republic.
Complete with whiteness’ take on swag, the family succumbs to not only mocking the dance moves of women in hip-hop videos, but also features members of the family mimicking so-called gangsta poses and dance moves.
Trying to describe the debauchery in the video does not do one justice. You would be better off watching it yourself.
(As an aside: I’m surprised the video has remained up for as long as it has–it’s a clear case of copyright infringement on the estate of the legendary hip-hop artist).
Anyway, on to my rant.
Marginalized bodies have routinely suffered from the cultural appropriation inflicted and othering by whiteness looking to have a little exotic fun at the expense of our dignity. People of color, particularly black people in the good ol’ U.S. of A., on a regular basis have our cultural and artistic expression hijacked, co-opted and stolen by white people without even one hint of acknowledgment or appreciation. Whiteness and white people have lifted the forms of expressions by black folks and other POCs, morphed it to their audiences’ liking and marketed their creation as if it were their own, not even paying respects to the real curators of their art. From the likes of Kreashawyn to the cover of Willow Smith’s Whip My Hair, whiteness continues to demonstrate to the world that our forms of expressions are an area in which they, too, can colonize without remorse or gratitude.
The Kardashian video is a prime example of the blatant disrespect and disregard for hip-hop culture and the primarily African-American voices behind it. I’m sure the family believed their video is a shining example of how down they are with Notorious B.I.G., hip-hop and, as Donald Trump would say, the blacks. I’m sure the family, if their actions are called into question, will point to their token POC friends and vehemently deny they have a racist bone in their body. So what if they, in the same breath, participate in the othering of a form of expression embraced by their friends of color.
And while the Kardashians and their offensive antics may not be the embodiment of what the world believes is the true form of racism, their mindless, insensitive co-opting of Notorious B.I.G. and hip-hop culture is a reflection of how whiteness, despite appearing to show its gratitude to POCs and our cultures, continues to oppress, mock and relegate marginalized bodies to second-class citizenship.
Whiteness can’t and won’t allow The Others to freely express themselves without giving in to its inherent need to invade and impose its ideals upon our culture and livelihood.