BLACK CULTURE AS A BLUEPRINT FOR TRENDS
The impact of Black culture is often unrecognized when it comes to today’s media. One of the most significant ways that Black people have influenced western culture is through music. While there are a few genres that are well known for being derived from Black culture, the impact that it has left on the western music industry still goes unnoticed.
One of the most notorious music genres that originated from Black culture is Hip-Hop. The origins of it are fairly obvious because it is one of the only mainstream music genres that continues to be dominated by black artists. Other Black-dominated genres today include Gospel and Blues. Both of these genres began from African Americans working in southern plantations during the period of slavery in America. Many music genres such as Rock and Roll are not attributed to their Black roots because they are not dominated by Black artists. A lot of the music that we listen to today is heavily rooted in Black history, but the Black origins of these famous genres are often erased to fit a European narrative. Rock and Roll is a mixture of Gospel, Blues, Jazz, and Country, all of which are genres rooted in Black traditions. It was started by African American musicians, but the history has been rebranded to seem White. Artists like Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll,” got famous singing songs written by Black musicians, but he is still seen as the face of the whole genre.
Fashion and many modern style trends are also heavily influenced by Black culture. From hooped earrings to acrylic nails and even modern street style, so much of what we view as “American” actually began in Black communities. Many different Black-influenced style items have ended up as trends. Many different parts of the fashion industry have been called out for taking too much influence from Black culture and making it their own through cultural appropriation.
The problem with all these trends is that, even though they are created and popularized by Black people, they are only socially accepted once they are seen on the bodies of White people. A good example of this is the Kardashians, who are known for borrowing their style and social media trends from Black communities. This includes them wearing Black hairstyles like cornrows and afros, hairstyles that Black women are ridiculed for. Countless social media influencers use Black women as the blueprint for how they choose to look and they are praised for it without acknowledging the double standard that is set when compared to Black women.