• Divya & Andressa

Cultural Appropriation X Appreciation: Let's Cut The Chaos!

"If we continue buying into the controversy that is very often fueled by the media, we are going to enclose ourselves in specific lands." (Jean-Baptiste Andreani, IFA Paris Director)

So as an artist living in today’s chaotic world of the ‘call-out’ culture, how can you culturally appreciate instead of appropriate? Just read on to get some tips and if you are not a reader, listen to our super-cool podcast.

As crazy busy students, there are some days we just want to lay on our couch and simply enjoy some fabulous visually inspiring music videos on YouTube. The problem is that when a Brazilian chatty designer and a hyperactive Indian writer gather in the same place it is impossible to keep a peaceful silence. Especially when we see Beyoncé & Coldplay portraying India as some ‘exotic’ country with yogis flying mid-air all the time or Snoop Dogg & Pharell picturizing Brazil as a butt paradisiac jungle while singing "Yeah, there's something about you"! As if!

These exactly are examples of the worst ways to portray a culture without knowing its essence, a.k.a. Cultural Appropriation. How does scripting a village and fort in an ancient way with Beyoncé mimicking weird dance moves or even poor slum kids doing breakdance while playing Holi relate to "Got me feeling drunk and high, so high, so high"? Personally, we feel it is just the old white-washed way of seeing India even at a time when it is regarded as the second Silicon Valley of the world. And what about Snoop Dogg and Pharell acting like the American kings of Rio de Janeiro, being adored by poor kids, flirting and staring at a bunch of half-naked Brazilian girls in the favela? Is it possible to be more culturally self-centered, misogynist and disrespectful than that?

We were angry, but not alone. Cultural Appropriation and Appreciation have been the talk of the town for quite some time. But how can we define which is which? It is a controversy of its own, especially when you are placed in an international school like ours, surrounded by a mix of students from all over the world, with different backgrounds and perspectives. In this podcast episode, we try to unravel the differences between both concepts taking an example of one of our favorite things in the world: fashion in art performances!

For this mission, we invited our IFA Paris Director, Jean-Baptiste Andreani, to help us to find ways of building art without being offensive and greedy. In our fun talk, we discuss many interesting and mind-boggling topics that surely light up our creative bulbs on how we as artists in the field of fashion, design or even music, can truly be inspired by different cultures and build legit Cultural Appreciation through their endeavors.

So as a warm-up here are 3 key guidelines to be a wise artist and never act like a dumbass:

1) Think before you act and dig deeper;

2) Establish genuine collaborations;

3) Pay respect and give the credits.

How? Well, start with our first tip by putting your headphones on and pressing play on our podcast!

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