Through all the advancements and innovations that had come along with the age of technology and the changes in popular culture, cultural appropriation is becoming more prevalent as popular culture embraces a more international audience. Cultural appropriation, according to dictionary.com, is “the act of adopting elements of an outside, often minority culture, including knowledge, practices, and symbols, without understanding or respecting the original culture and context.” Many different aspects of popular culture, most prominently dances, are being culturally appropriated, and some people are not even aware of it.
An example of cultural appropriation that had a huge impact on popular dance culture is twerking. Twerking, although not invented by ****, became a worldwide sensation due to Miley Cyrus’s VMA Performance in 2013. In her performance, Miley is riding a foam finer with Robin Thick standing behind her only inches away. If the average person was to be asked about this dance move, known as twerking, odds are that their response will include some reference of this VMAs Performance. In Spring of 2018, interviewing with Wonderland magazine, reflecting on that performance, Miley was quoted “Not only was culture changed, but my life and career were changed forever.” That performance also allowed her to distance herself from her famous very clean character portrayed as Hannah Montana to a more grown up artist. Twerking involves thrusting hip movements, while keeping a low squat stance. It is a sexually provocative move that has been seen in many music videos including everyday people posting their version. Many famous artists such as Beyonc©, Rihanna, and Cardi B. twerk as part of their choreography for their stage shows. As a matter of fact, Cardi B.’s music video titled “City Girls – Twerk ft. Cardi B.” has had over 72,000,000 views to date. Twerking is dated back to much earlier than 2013 and can be rooted back to African origins. According to Oxford English Dictionary, the word Twerking can be traced back to 1820. But for most recent years, Twerking” comes from New Orleans, in the early 1990s. Modern day twerking is seen to be very similar to west African dances such as Mapouka, which is a historical dance from Cote d’Ivoire. The original intentions of this dance move were to be used as a celebratory dance for festivals, and it was originally believed, by Africans, to lead to encounters with God. Mapouka has also been proven to be used as a way to decide the significant other of a young man or woman. Now, rather than this dance move being seen as a celebratory dance, it is seen as a very controversial and provocative dance move, that when performed by women, degrades their character and professionality.
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