Korean-American singer-rapper Jay Park is trending on Twitter now, and it's not because of a good thing. His recent Instagram post has attracted a lot of criticisms after he made remarks about cultural appropriation. He had posted a video of Avatar Darko, a white rapper from the United States. The latter was seen sporting dreadlocks, and many called the rapper out for cultural appropriation.
Jay defended the rapper, leaving a series of comments to address the backlash.
He wrote, "Like every time I twist my hair into spikes with gel, y'all say the same s*** 'cause y'all THINK it looks like dreads… tbh getting pretty ridiculous… I can't style my hair???"
He continued, "Yooo feeling somebody's music is personal opinion but hating on somebody 'cause of their hairstyle… I'm sorry but THAT ain't it. Jay Park and Avatar Darko never disrespect the culture and always give back. That's like saying a non-Asian person shouldn't use Korean words and shouldn't listen to K-pop 'cause they didn't go through all the suffering Korean people went through (if you don't know, look the s*** up). It's 2019 and every culture, every ethnicity influences each other and as long as we're not disrespecting each other, it's all love and nothing else. If I sound like a dumba** because of this comment, then I guess I'm dumba**.
He replied one of the commenters, questioning if adaptation of Korean words amounted to cultural appropriation. "So it's OK for non-Asian people to use the word 'oppa' and 'selca' and 'mukbang' but have never lived in Korea and don't even know the culture? Is that cultural appropriation? Or is that just showing love and being interested or passionate about something? Please educate me. PLEASE."
He ended off it off with a comment, which got people more riled up: "Let's not argue over dumbs***. There are REAL problems out there, much more serious than how you wear your hair… If you wanna focus on something, go focus on that. We're just trying to put on for the city and our people while doing what we love… If you don't like it, that's cool. Much love to all the fans."
A Twitter user said:
Another commented on his post:
A fan boldly posted an unpopular opinion:
For those who are wondering what the deal is, here's a background: Dreadlocks is a hairstyle that holds a special meaning to African Americans. In fact, a few African American students have faced discrimination due to their hairstyles: last year, a six-year-old was turned away on his first day of school because he had dreadlocks; recently, a high school wrestler was told by a referee that he couldn't compete unless he cut his dreadlocks-minutes before the competition.
So, yes, in some parts of the world, a hairstyle can determine whether you can get a job, represent your school or even go to school.
Some Twitter users have also highlighted one of the fundamental problems:
Jay has since disabled his comments.
This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.