Essay on Why Is Cultural Appropriation Bad

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Feld asserts that the intellectual rights of, That Was Your Mother, should have been collectively held by Alton Rubin and his band the Twisters (35). Unfortunately, it is Paul Simons who enjoys the intellectual property rights of the production. Indeed, because of cultural appropriation, it has become difficult for people from minor cultural groups to claim an infringement of intellectual property rights, because of the use of electronic sampled musical scores. The reason is that the cultural values of the minor groups are incorporated into the values of the dominant races or ethnic societies, thus making it difficult for an artist to claim originality. Even so, it is difficult for the artists of folk music to claim originality, in circumstances where their music has been electronically sampled. The reason is that most of the music is not copyrighted, and is freely available. Indeed, this was an issue that gained the support of the court in Capital Record v Naxos (2005), where the court asserted that the producer has a right to distribute and produce a musical score that is not copyrighted (Jones 116). So, it is possible to assert that cultural appropriation has made it difficult for musicians to enjoy their intellectual property rights, because it has resulted in the loss of originality because of the incorporation of the values and elements of a minor cultural society, into that of the most dominant social groups.

Moreover, some musicians support the sampling of electronic sounds which results in cultural appropriation, by arguing that they do travel a lot, and the use of digitally sampled music is part of their career (Pimentel, n.p). Indeed, through this argument, one can assert that the music producers and artists support cultural appropriation, because of the element of globalization. For instance, one of the producers and musicians who is accused of cultural appropriation is Diplo. This is an artist whose music and production contains elements of Brazilian funk, dance hall, reggae, African pop, and Western music (Pimentel, n.p). While supporting his decision to incorporate the elements of these cultures into his musical production, Diplo denoted that, “he is a white man, and benefits from a sense of zero cultural capital (Pimentel, n.p).” Through this quotation, Diplo meant that as a white man, he had the right to incorporate and use the values of other societies, and should not be criticized for it. Even so, Diplo justifies the notion of cultural appropriation because of the element of globalization. He asserts that because of his ability to music the cultures and values of different regions in his music, he has managed to perform in different countries of the world, and this includes Uganda, and Islamabad, Pakistan (Pimentel, n.p). In this regard, the electronic sampling of music is what defines his career. Therefore, it is possible to assert that in as much as borrowing from others is a controversial stance, and this is because it raises the issue of cultural appropriation, but, on a positive note, it is a driver of globalization in music. It can increase the chances of a musician to financially benefit from other regions because they can get invitations for performances. Diplo is an example of a musician and producer who has financially benefited from his electronically sampled music.

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In conclusion, the notion of cultural appropriation is a controversial topic. The reason is that it can negatively affect creativity and the originality of musical production. Besides, it makes it difficult for the minority social group to preserve their identity and cultural values. However, on a positive aspect, cultural appropriation promotes the notion of globalization. This is because it promotes cultural diversity and acceptance, hence, the emergence of the white people wearing the Dashiki, Bindi, and the Rastafarian stripes.    

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