African Roots



The amount of Dashikis I have bought this summer is kind of crazy. When my dad went to Ghana, I begged him to please bring me back a bunch of them in different colors because it reminds me of where my family is from. Now I've noticed that they are in style all of a sudden. I know a lot of people who have always worn them, especially my family members from Africa because it is a piece of clothing that is a part of our culture and many other cultures in Africa. Dashikis have always been in style in Africa, but I can not say that they have ever been in style in America because they haven't. 

When Beyoncé and a bunch of female celebrities, posted pictures of themselves wearing dashikis, they became so popular. Now, I am not saying there is a problem with that; but it does bother me a bit that when a celebrity wears something that has been worn for traditions... Everyone wants to wear it. It bothers me even more when those people do not know a single thing about those traditions...yet continue to wear them just because it is "stylish." That is what really bothers me. I do not want to turn this into a huge rant, and do not want to be portrayed as the "angry black girl"; but cultural appropriation exists. I've noticed that African, Japanese, Chinese, Native American and Indian cultures get appropriated the most; but I never see American cultures getting appropriated. It makes me wonder why, then I remember that American culture is influenced by all those other cultures. What am I trying to say? I'm trying to say that American culture is not original. Therefore, nothing is original in American fashion. This post was not written to insult, or offend any Americans because I am American myself. It's just that I could never imagine wearing a Bindi in public because no part of me is Indian, so why would I wear it? Am I going to wear it because it is cute? Am I going to wear it because I have always wanted to see how it looks on me? Or am I wearing it because I wish I had Indian roots? I am not going to wear it for any of those reasons, and I am not going to wear it period.

Some people could walk around wearing this dashiki and say that they are "appreciating"  the culture. They are incorrect if they say that. What they do not know is that they are disrespecting the culture, not appreciating it. I know people who can wear a dashiki, but not know that it originated from the West African culture. My family is from Liberia, which is located in West Africa. When I wear a dashiki, I wear it because of where my roots come from. I do not think about how stylish I look wearing it, or how cute I look, because it is much more than that. Now, I am not trying to make it seem like "Well my family is from Africa, so I can wear this and not be appropriating it." There are African-Americans who can wear this, have roots from Africa, and still appropriate it. I just want to make it clear that cultural appropriation is disrespectful and not cute. 

Someone who talked very powerfully about this was Amandla Stenberg, whom I look up to. She targets celebrities like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Swift for their ways of proving cultural appropriation is legit. She explains it all in such a mature way too, and she is only sixteen years old. Check out her video on cultural appropriation and artists of white mainstream music: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/amandla-stenberg-cultural_n_7064420.html

- AK





Aisha Konneh

3 comments:

  1. Woow I love the outfit! Your hairstyle is so cute and the Dashiki is to die for! I've been to a little fashion show in the beginning of this year and there was a collection that contained lots of jewellry, such Dashikis, beautiful long dresses and white sneakers, but you're right with saying that we should never wear something just because it's stylish, I still see fashion as an opportunity to show part of your personality!
    xoxo

    http://teenapes.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks! No doubt that fashion is an opportunity to express yourself, I believe that is why fashion exists; for everyone to express who they are.

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