What is the New Black: Fashion Statement or Something Else?
I said I wasn’t going to write about this. I hung up it up, closed the door and walked away. Yet thanks to a friend, I had to write it since she said if I didn’t she would. Call it a writer’s ego but here we go!
Once again, scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw a promotion ad for the new movie “Maleficent” in my news feed. I am honestly pretty stoked to see this movie. I watched this movie as a child, even as an adult and could’ve cared less about Sleeping Beauty (the fairies were adorable though), but Maleficent definitely made the movie a good one. I mean, she was obviously dark, talked about hell, and the way she died was a little eerie as well. Better than a vain queen or a wicked step-mother. This was a woman who cursed a baby just because she didn’t get invited to the baby shower. Cold.
So looking at this ad which said “Evil is the New Black,” I was instantly taken back to my last blog about gay being deemed as “the new black”. I questioned the usage of this phrase and relativity to being Black and things not deemed as good or acceptable to society,
It seems more in your face more than ever with shows like “Orange is the New Black” and phrases that some truly believe such as “gay is the new Black.” Compare it the actual color, where Black is color for all occasions, be it a funeral or wedding, it’s a color that remains relevant and appropriate regardless of any occasion.
But tied to this thought are the actual people, Black people, whose history and current struggles are often compared to negative things despite the many accomplishments.
And you may say well when it comes to “Orange is the New Black” and the Maleficient ad, they are talking more about it in a fashionable sense. It’s not relative to the Black culture. Prison and evil? Taking a step further into this thought, usually we would say for example “pink is the new black,” indicating another color has become the new choice for all occasions but to compare a negative characteristic or a color associated with incarceration, it’s walking across a fine line of Black stereotypes and perception.
I then was going to dismiss this, say this doesn’t make sense but at the point of taking this blog and throwing it into the trash bin, I then thought of Japan and the group that tans their skin, where’s clothes typically worn by Black people and have hip hop events.
And today’s American culture that seems to deem Black as a lifestyle. You hear it on social media, talk shows about White celebrities who’ve just entered adulthood “acting Black.” One of them would even compare it to a lifestyle.
Songwriting brothers Timothy and Theron Thomas who originally wrote “We Can’t Stop” for Rihanna, gave the song to Miley Cyrus who asked for something that “feels Black.”
Take that to talk show “The Talk” where Sharon Osborn said about Justin Beiber:
“I feel really bad for him. There’s this little kid with a huge dream, he’s cute, girls love him, and he wants to be a mean boy, and he’s about as mean as a f**kin’ kitten, and he’s trying to act out. It’s like pissing in a bucket. It’s like, ‘Oh, we’re the bad boys!” F**k off!
You don’t know what bad is. And I think that he’s lost, I really do. I think he doesn’t realize he’s White and not Black, that’s a huge problem.”
Do people honestly think that by doing these things, THIS is Black? How does a culture become marginalized to such an extent that it is deemed as a lifestyle and not even much of a positive one? And how does this affect those who ARE actually Black and those who see them?
Being Black should not be a trend as I never heard anyone say “straight is the new White” or people telling celebrities that aren’t Mexican they’re not Mexican so they should stop acting Mexican for example.
It sounds quite silly right? Deeming our culture as a simple trend or lifestyle, takes away the importance, the RESPECT you should have for our culture. Deeming social struggles or negative characteristics as the “new black” are new ways of underhanded racism.
Yes living in this world we will influence each other, we will integrate and learn new things, but should we devalue each other by using us as commodities and for cultural appropriation? No. I’ve never seen a culture to such an extent as Black people be used and said as the things I’ve described. It seems the Black culture will always have an influence on each generation and rightfully so, we live in America together, but the presentation should not be stereotype exaggerated to the utmost degree.
I listen to rock, make songs that have are rock influenced but never ask for something that “feels white.”
It’s very interesting and as Black people we’re always wondering who else is taking shots at us as a people and culture.
See our color, respect our culture and not use it as some gimmick. What’s the next new Black? Black.
Check out this Wendy Williams episode in which Wendy makes a good point about cultural appropriation at 3:50.