It’s one thing to appropriate: that is, pick and choose the cultural elements from marginalized cultures for personal profit. Dancehall-reggae-influenced Major Lazer have come under fire for the video to their 2015 hit Lean On, featuring MO and DJ Snake, which was accused of cultural appropriation for exploiting and misrepresenting Indian culture, much like Coldplay and Beyonce’s Hymn For The Weekend video.
In a response to this, Diplo himself claims the opposite is true; his music and the video associated with the single itself all come from the diverse culture he grew up in. Citing The Clash as an example of music that pushed the envelope, he says that the last thing he wants is creatively boring music.
“For me, the band that’s most influential to us is The Clash. Nobody said, ‘You’re culturally appropriating,’ when they made Rock The Casbah. I think what makes a great artist is someone who can change the direction of music, not someone who stays the same all the time. Otherwise music would be so f*cking boring.”
“When I grew up, no one told me what I was supposed to listen to. I grew up and I loved music. I didn’t think: ‘Oh, I’m white, I’ve got to play a guitar.’ I never had a guitar. I really fucked that up. I only had turntables. I wish I got a guitar, then I wouldn’t have so much criticism.”
Is Diplo appreciating or appropriating culture? Contribute to the discussion and tweet us @GlobalDanceElec.