Understanding Cultural Appropriation Part 3: AAVE and Black Fashion

People are so obsessed with this Black aesthetic. The Black aesthetic as in recycling Black fashion trends and using AAVE without even understanding the terms or history.

I’ve noticed that our 90s fashion trends are becoming popular with non-Black people. The same fashion that‘s called “ghetto” and “trashy” on us, are now mainstream fashion trends. Yep, the same style that people use to racially profile Black people is now fashionable on everyone, but us. I’m talking about the grills, baggy clothes, wearing sportswear as fashion, etc. Celebrities like Billie Ellish recycle Black fashion trends to seem edgy or cool.

It’s common for me to read articles about the latest fashion trends and see styles that have been in the Black community for decades. These articles will credit the Kardashians for starting the trends before they acknowledge the hood Black girls they copied. Then high fashion brands take these “new” trends and slap an expensive price tag on them. Those Black girls that we refer to as, “hood rats” and “rats” are the real fashion innovators. They were rocking the door knockers with the long acrylic nails, fur coats, and sunglasses first. We all deemed them unworthy of respect. But, we get excited when we see non-Black women recreating it twenty years later.

Black slang, as in AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), or Ebonics seems is apart of everyone’s vocabulary. The same dialect people called just “broken English”, “laziness”, and being “uneducated”. Meanwhile, everyone else used AAVE because they think it makes them sound cool. AAVE gets used everywhere we go. People misuse it and it don’t even understand the meaning of it. White people are walking around talking about, “Bye Felicia,” but have never seen or heard of “Friday.”

Black creators never make a coin and they hardly receive credit for the terms they made up! For example, we all know the term “On Fleek”. Peaches Monroe coined the term. White America ”discovered” the term, like Christopher Columbus, and played the hell out of it to the point where Black people stopped using it. I even saw it in advertisements and article headlines. But, did Peaches make any money from it? Nope. She had to start a GoFundMe to raise money for her cosmetic line. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the term, “On fleek,”Peaches would be rich by now.

Mainstream media copies Black fashion and runs our slang into the ground. But, everyone is silent when it’s time to give credit to the innovators. Hood fashion and AAVE is apart of Black American culture. It is not simply, “American” culture. It is not Stan Twitter language. It isn’t your new fashion trend.

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