The Guilfordian

Filed under In Print, Opinion

Cultural appropriation evident from pop stars

Pop star Ariana Grande has been stirring controversy over accusations of her being culturally appropriative. Many have raised concerns that Grande is taking aspects of other cultures and gaining undeserved profit from them. The first issue that came to light was her skin and hair. She has slowly been getting darker spray-on tans and few have noticed until now that she went from being pale white to brown-skinned, soon adopting a skin tone darker than Nicki Minaj. Grande’s use of hairpieces emulates African-American women and so does her style in dress and music.

Her most current hit, “7 Rings” samples “My Favorite Things” from the musical “The Sound of Music” and spins it into a more modern pop song. “7 Rings” has been criticized for its similarity, lyrically, to songs by black artists.

“The internet is debating whether the pop singer plagiarized or paid homage to 2 Chainz, Princess Nokia, or Soulja Boy,” writes BuzzFeed News. “Yet another white pop star clinging onto the marketable imagery of the hood to push her ‘bad girl” persona.”

A recent tattoo Grande got in Japanese kanji characters appropriated Japanese culture. The tattoo was misspelled; it came out reading “charcoal grill” when it was supposed to say “7 Rings.” Her music video for “7 Rings” was also culturally appropriative, using Japanese “kawaii” imagery and kanji for aesthetic reasons.

Ariana Grande is not the first artist to appropriate culture in their work. Certain eras of Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry’s work also took from different genres and cultures. Gwen Stefani and Fergie have also been accused of cultural appropriation, and Iggy Azalea is often criticized for profiting off black culture. These artists, among others, have stolen aspects of cultures not their own for personal gain, artistically and monetarily.

As much as I have loved and looked up to Ariana Grande, it breaks my heart to see her taking from other cultures and artists. I feel personally like she is starting to run out of original content. It is always hard to see artists taking from each other and having no shame or not owning up to it.

I have followed Ariana Grande from the beginning of her career in the show “Victorious” and her first musical work. Since then, there has definitely been a change in her style and maturity which you can see in here vocals and music.

She has such amazing vocals and so much she could be doing with her talent, yet she still chooses to be unoriginal with every new piece she puts out. As much talent as she has, there is no lying that her individuality is quickly fading along with her accreditation for music.

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