Nicki Minaj and Chun Li - Cultural Appropriation?


Black American culture is heavily appropriated by the Korean hip-hop community to a pretty crazy extent. I think most of it is done out of reverence and genuine appreciation on their part (not that that makes it okay, of course), but yeah, it’s pretty awkward at times. Many of them are working directly with black American artists and producers nowadays, though–Snoop Dogg in particular has been present on the Korean hip-hop scene for a minute and CL reworked a Wu-Tang song with Method Man’s blessing–so hopefully they’ll become more sensitive to this sort of thing and start to develop more of their own unique culture around the genre in the coming years.


somebody mentioned RZA so I have to say that if y’all want to hear RZA at his best you need to track down the Dragon Dynasty DVD of The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin and listen to his commentary track

okay thanks


I fully confess that while I understand the idea of cultural appropriation and can think of specific examples where it is bad and harmful, I am generally speaking absolutely awful at picking up on the nuance and shades of grey. I have a really, really hard time dividing things that were inspired by other cultures and are not bad and things that are more offensive.


This reminds me of the music video surrounding Big Boi’s somewhat recent song, Kill Jill. Which hey if you haven’t seen the video for that. It’s pretty yikes

I’m not the most informed on this subject. And I’m really really white. So I’m don’t feel it’s appropriate for me specifically to label it cultural appropriation. That said the usage of Geisha makeup and outfits was a lot, and I can say that it made a lot of my East Asian friends uncomfortable.


How do we feel about Kendrick Lamar’s Kung Fu Kenny?


I apologize if I’m sounding bizarrely adamant, but it’s hard for me to give much sympathy when my closest friend has been mocked for her Chinese heritage and culture, and then had those exact qualities objectified and exploited years later.

But… Something I really don’t get that I’m noticing in this thread is “Well, since certain Asian groups appropriate certain Black culture, it’s okay for certain Black groups to appropriate certain Asian culture.” (Asia is, by the way, y’all, a continent.) It’s completely missing the point.

Neither party should get away with appropriating and fetishizing other cultures. This is not an exchange of cultures; it’s the exploitation of them. Saying it’s a “fair trade” is not a healthy mindset to come at this with. No one is trading anything. They aren’t equivalent, and they don’t cancel each other out. They’re both awful and both deserving of criticism.

Stop exploiting other people’s cultures and using them as props. It shouldn’t be that difficult.


I certainly didn’t mean to imply the sentiment you mention in my above post. I apologize if it came off that way. I agree with you that it’s problematic on both sides of the equation.


Basic rule of thumb: if something either draws on stereotypes that are used in racist caricatures (cone hats, hair chopsticks) or combines different cultures in a way that implies “Eh, they’re all the same” then it’s crossed a line. From The Root:

But what might be considered most offensive is the amalgamation of Asian motifs and clothing, by which I mean that it was sort of a mashup of an entire continent—predominantly China and Japan—rather than a straightforward homage to either culture. Since this is typical of the way Westerners often reductively approach Eastern cultures, it’s understandable that some folks took offense.

Case in point: From a purely costuming perspective, Minaj began her performance in a kimono-style garment (Japanese), shedding it to reveal a body-armor-type of bodysuit that looked half-cheongsam (Chinese) and half traditional Samurai armor (Japanese). All in all, it’s a questionable but not highly original combo, but I also think what some might also have taken offense to is Minaj’s sexualization of these motifs, which have been used to fetishize Asian women for over a century.


So I get the context of the article, and I understand with this Nicki Minaj thing is bad. To me it fell into the somewhat obvious camp. What I don’t get is, for example, people talking about RZA and how he did things right. As someone whose main digest of the RZA is early Wu-Tang and such (36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, and uh… that Gravediggaz album…) I guess I don’t see how his general love of kung-fu movies is better. Sure he’s not dancing around in a costume or anything, but I never really got a sense of genuine appreciation for the overall culture.