And Other Things Iggy Doesn't Get.
More recently there was another little flareup of Iggy Azalea being taught some hiphop history by Qtip (amongst others). This time though there was already a polarizing effect after the Ferguson shooting and Staten Island strangulation of unarmed black men by the police. The battle line was drawn and people self segregated into mostly 1950's style camps of whites over here/blacks over there.
The idea that a successful white woman is (yet again) making her money by donning a culture that she knows little of and is actually an outsider to was brushed off by some as blacks just looking for reasons to complain. Qtip was irrelevant and looking to get some attention. If Iggy truly was an outsider then why was she so successful?
Then a couple of nights ago I stumbled onto Esther Jones.
Don't know her? I didn't either, but I did know her image, and act, and song, and style, and everything else about her as ripped off by Helen Kane then ripped off again by her caricature, BETTY BOOP. We all know of Elvis being used to rebrand a sound for white consumption but this was the wholesale theft of someone's identity. Ironically the story twists into "white people stealing from white people who stole from black people". Or simply "being Black in America".
So I go back to reread Qtip's twecture on the origins of hiphop and it reads differently. Creative expressions come from life experiences. The most powerful emotions get infused into these songs because the performer lived them. It's authentic. That's not to say you can't draw inspiration from outside your own sphere of life but at least, like Qtip tried to convey, know your history. Then choose if you want to be remembered as the next Helen Kane because you wanted to be famous like Elvis. But while you're thinking about it, get ready to be called out on it, because the culture wars are definitely still going on.