In a new video titled, "Don't Cash Crop my Cornrows," Hunger Games actress, Amandla Stenberg, asks, "What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?"
The 16-year-old maps out a timeline of the appropriation of black culture from the early 2000's to today. Cornrows and braids, she explains, have always been an integral part of black culture, and as an extension, hip-hop culture, which was created by the black community as a way to express themselves and solidify their identity.
Amandla sites artists like Alicia Keys and Beyonce as helping to integrate hip-hop and ultimately black culture into popular culture in the early 2000's. Their rise to fame gave way for artists like Eminem to adopt this "edgy" style and create a hip-hop album that would go four times platinum.
Since then, we have seen black culture penetrate not only the music industry, but the fashion and film businesses as well; all of which have exploited many black tropes and stereotypes. As Amandla points out, Madonna has worn grillz, Miley has twerked on just about everything and Katy Perry has eaten watermelon while talking in Ebonics and wearing her hair in cornrows.
While white artists such as Macklemore and Iggy Azalea have reached the top spot on Billboard's Hip Hop Chart over the past two years, however, police brutality against black people has come to a head. Iggy's failure to show her support for the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked a feud with Azealia Banks, who called Iggy out for deeming black culture cool, but black issues not.
We can't forget to mention Giuliana Rancic's now infamous comment about Zendaya's Oscar dreads while on this topic, either. Stereotypes are reinforced in pop culture on a daily basis and have led to a divide between the glorifying of black culture and the disregarding of black people that clearly exists.
As Amandla so eloquently states, the line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange is always going to be blurred, but when we forget where certain cultures originated, and the struggles people have endured, how can we ever expect progress?