I Do This For (Your) Culture?

That's the same thing I did Mr. Benjamin.

I saw the movie Marci X this past weekend. My random movie game is not to be trifled with. Not a bad movie, but not exactly one I’d recommend anybody spend time watching. Of course, if you’re bored and don’t have anything else to do, there are much worse movies you can watch than Marci X like say Who Made The Potato Salad?

Well, in the movie, Lisa Kudrow stars as the billionaire heiress to a music company mogul who is trying to get Damon Wayans (his name is Dr. S in the movie) to apologize for some of his brash lyrics. Well, they end up dating and the plan is for him to go and apologize for his lyrics at the MTV Music awards.

Well, as Damon Wayans date to the awards show, Lisa Kudrow’s character does what any white woman dating a thugged out Black man would do…

…she dresses like an Erykah Badu knockoff.

Say heffa say what???

Oh no she didn’t.

She was fully garbed in a headwrap, a kinte cloth wrap dress, some beads, and I could have sworn I saw an African medallion somewhere. Pure and utter non-sense. And it wasn’t offensive or anything, just overdone. Totally overdone.

It got me to thinking about the asstastic mess of a job people do when they’re trying to emulate another culture in attempts to assimilate or show support. And yes, we do a horrible job, regardless of race. This means Black people too. This isn’t just a white thing…this spans ALL cultures.

For the life of me, I don’t understand how people can really be so oblivious to the fact that in our attempts to show support or “understanding” of another culture, we completely turn ourselves into caricatures. For instance, when white people try to emulate Black culture, have you noticed that they pick the most extreme examples of Black culture to embrace? I’m talking gold or platinum chains that hang down to their ankles, doo-rags when they have straight hair, hiphop gear that nobody even remotely attached to Black culture would wear. Hell, sometimes I think that most companies make “hiphop” clothing specifically for the leagues of white people who want to be cool between the ages of 13-24 and think that “Black” culture is the way to go.

And it isn’t like everything is off. It just seems like people take that one extra step that would normally have you falling off a cliff and getting caught by your toenails on a broken bottle of Absolut Vodka hanging out of the side of a mountain.

Let’s not just stop with white people though. Let’s talk about Black folks. Yes, Black folks who think they are doing a service to Africa by wearing sh*t Africans wouldn’t be caught dead in. Have you ever noticed how ridiculous a lot of Black folks look when they are paying tribute to “mother Africa”?

Me too.

Hell, it offends me sometimes. Throwing on some kinte clothe pants some slippers exposing your flour-powered toes and putting on an “African” hat you purchased from an Arab guy in your local mall doesn’t exhibit support. It exhibits an exhibit of what not to do when trying to show support to your African brothers and sisters, most of whom you’ll never actually meet.

Hmm…I wonder. Has anybody ever thought to ask an African what they would wear at some sort of traditional ceremony in their home country?? It seems as if the biggest problem we have is that none of us ever ASKS a person of the culture we’re attempting to copy what THEY would wear.

And that includes Africans too.

I’m not sure whose worse in this case, white people or Africans. See, it would seem that Africans get their Black fashion ideas from the same place white people do.

Television and other white people.

And I’m just not quite sure which shows either of them are watching.


Africans that try to dress like Black Americans miss the mark so hard you have to wonder where they were shooting. It’s the same problem white people have, and its the same problem Black Americans have when trying to be more “African.”

Just makes you want to slap everybody.

For some reason, in our attempts to show support we end up mocking the very thing we want to support. How dumb is that? Thats why I don’t wear anything traditionally African now. Hell, I don’t want to walk outside and offend an African. Some years ago I bought a shirt that said “I (Heart) Afrikan People.”


It was a good idea when I bought it. Then I thought about it, even wore it once, and felt a whole lot of weird because I’m not African. Well, not in the traditional sense. I’m clearly of African descent.

But the fact is, wearing a shirt that says I Love African People isn’t exactly showing love, it feels more like a mockery. I can wear a shirt talking about I love Black people because well…I’m a Black dude. I associate with Black people. (Allegedly) African people view me as Black. Basically, its like a white person wearing a shirt that says I Love Black People. The right sentiments might be there, but truth be told, it almost looks like a slap in the face. That’s some shit you say after you say something ignorant to attempt to cover your tracks.

And I’m ignorant…so I know what you say when trying to cover your tracks.

I keed I keed.

Back to the point here…it’s interesting how in our attempts to show support we often end up mocking other cultures, openly.

What makes it even more f*cked up is this. In the movie, Lisa Kudrow dressed up as a stereotypic “down-to-earth soul” sistah, kind of chick. Damon Wayans…was a gansta rapper. That shit doesn’t match. Which highlights another problem. Not only do folks not know what they’re doing…they don’t even know WHEN to not know what they’re doing!

So the next time you see a white chick in a headwrap with some Ankh earrings or a Black guy wearing a kinte cloth dashiki with a map of the middle passage adorning the front…

…slap the living shit out of them then tell them the good news.

You just saved a bunch of money on your car insurance by switching to Geico.

Seriously though, why do you think that we people, as a rule, generally do such a terrible job of emulating and/or supporting other cultures?

Inquiring minds would like to know?


PS: VSB recently teamed up with Coliseum Apparel to do a limited run of VSB branded crewneck sweaters. These joints are dope and I’ve already been rocking them about town. It’s still perfect weather for them as well. #teamVSB. Go on over to Coliseum Apparel’s site to check them out and cop you one! They’re going to go fast!!!!