This might be the most lit account of cultural appropriation ever. In the video below, poets Crystal Valentine and Aaliyah Jihad serve all the realness with “Hide Your Shea Butter,” a piece about the ways that white people continue to steal Blackness and Black Culture for their own ends.
In the poem performed at the 2016 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, Valentine and Jihad make a powerful case for Black folx, Black women in particular, to protect their Blackness, keeping it safe from white surveillance and potential thievery. At one point, the two say: “I don’t care how fly your twistout is, don’t you dare that sh*t out in front of no white woman.”
In another moment, they called out 2015’s most notorious cultural appropriator by name, saying: “It’s that Rachel Dolezal stole 14 Black years and we have yet to retrieve them. Do you know how many white years that adds up to? This b*tch supposed to be 87.”
The two address the popularity of hairstyles like crochet braids (which Valentine herself is rocking in the video). They talk about the ways that bantu knots have been called “mini buns” and how some white people even think that sleeping with a Black person gives them a special entrance into Blackness. Clue: it doesn’t.
Toward the end of the performance, the two sum up their concerns saying: “It’s not that we don’t trust white people, it’s that y’all really think my Black looks better on you.” They suggest that it is time for white people to be creative on their own. What do you think?
Watch the full poem below (Warning: language):
Photo: YouTube screenshot