News circulated about rapper, Tyga’s new music video, which was filmed in Jamaica, that featured a White love interest wearing bantu knots. Many people became enraged over the fact that he didn’t choose a local Jamaican woman to portray the love interest in his music video. Others didn’t really care about the controversy surrounding the rapper choosing a White female lead for his music video. However I was truly disgusted by the blatant cultural appropriation and erasure of the Black woman’s image in the release of his new music video.
I am not a fan of Tyga nor do I listen to his music. I don’t even listen to mainstream music particularly not Hip Hop however I was intrigued to read about the controversy surrounding this new music video. I found it ironic how he didn’t even choose a local Jamaican woman to play a lead in his music video, ”1 of 1”. Instead, he chose a half German half Pakistani model named Amina Blue to portray the love interest in his music video. Personally, I didn’t really have a problem with him choosing a non Black woman as a lead in his music video. My issue is the fact that he promoted the appropriation of Jamaican culture and heritage in the music video. Here is where cultural appropriation comes into play. What particularly disturbed me was that he had her wear bantu knots, wear a Jamaica shirt and beads. Bantu knots(known as China bumps in Jamaica) is a common hairstyle that many Black women choose to wear. Wearing beads is popular among many Jamaicans as well. Did he not understand that allowing a non Black woman to appropriate aspects of his culture would initiate controversy? The irony of the whole debacle is the fact that his paternal ancestry is from Jamaica.
Here are some of reactions from ‘Black Twitter’ to Tyga’s music video, ”1 of 1”:
Personally, I also believe that the video was a slap in the face to Jamaican culture. My lineage and heritage is from Jamaica despite being born in Manhattan, New York. My earliest memories is eating mango and listening to Bob Marley’s The Redemption Song however Jamaican culture runs deeper than just the food and the music. Jamaican culture is a culture is very influential and far reaching along with very connecting to others of Jamaican descent. Having someone put together a cheap video where cultural appropriation and a lack of emphasis on the culture itself is a huge insult to many Jamaicans who connect with their culture. Particularly if one subliminally promoted cultural appropriation and the erasure of one’s cultural aspects that makes the culture what it is.
His music video also promotes the erasure of Black women. Black women particularly monoracial Black women’s image is either erased or watered down by having a biracial woman portray her in the media. Black women particularly not Black women from Jamaica weren’t chosen as love interest but instead they were tossed to the side as ”props” instead. Props used to uplift non Black beauty and put Black women to the side. Again, there isn’t anything wrong with having a non Black love interest however what I am against is the unfair and lack of representation that Black women receive in all media outlets.
Most of all, I believe that the best way to counteract such images is to stop financially supporting these colorstruck, misogynist male entertainers. Stop buying their music. Stop listening to their music. Start standing up against whatever cultural appropriation, erasure of Black women and bashing of Black womanhood wherever you may see it. Hence I believe that more of us would make a difference once we tell others that enough is enough.