“Everybody wants to benefit from what black people do, but nobody wants to be black” is perhaps the most fitting quote when discussing the appropriation of black culture. We often go above and beyond to deliver creative and innovative contributions to music, art, fashion, and media in a way that everyone can enjoy and be inspired by. However, when it comes to the everyday issues that plague our community, other races and cultures aren’t so ambitious in their pursuits of what our culture truly embodies and represents because it no longer serves them.
More specifically, black women tend to get the short end of the stick more often than not; Yes, we are the creators of many of the trends you see floating around in pop culture today, and yet we aren’t reaping any of the rewards—whether it be simply giving us our credit when it’s due, or handing over the money that we are rightfully owed. Grammy-nominated and award-winning rapper and producer, J Cole, touches on the subject in his new video for “Middle Child”.
Throughout the music video, J Cole makes sure that the portrayal of black women is one that is strong and positive. He has an all-black women marching band that sets the pace of the song, and it lends itself to the metaphor that black women do just that: we set the pace. Cole dives deeper into this metaphor in one scene where a white woman notices the baby hairs on a black woman and is shown literally shopping for a black woman’s face in the grocery store, shortly after.
The most endearing part of that scene was that the black woman’s packaged face is marked with a “special” sticker, making it clear that you can buy or contort all of the features you want in order to look like a black woman, but no matter how much you copy us, you can never be the type of special that we are naturally.
Watch the video below: