Last summer I wrote an article about why it was important to keep hip-hop culture our own and not sell out and steer away from what was created by us. I find myself back at the topic of culture but this time it extends to an aspect of culture that sadly is present. The infiltration of culture vultures. A culture vulture is an individual who steals traits, language and/or fashion from another ethnic or social group in order to create their own identity. You’re probably wondering, how can someone that you can clearly see is a phony allowed to even be apart of the culture? It’s because we allow it. We get blinded by others from different cultures and backgrounds wanting to fit in with us and how they can so well pull off being “down” that we automatically bring them in. For so long, hip-hop was shut out of mainstream so I can’t blame some of us easily giving a pass but how are we benefiting from it? Yes, these people are creating outlets for artists to get exposure but then I notice it comes down to favorites. Once they get enough people to back them, it’s like they stop caring about the mass of underground and only focus on a select few. Furthermore, are they putting any of the money they gain from events, sponsorships and etc. back into the hip-hop community? The events are cool but it’s way bigger than that. With as much money and exposure these vultures are generating, positive programs for uprising creative children could be erected or even give a scholarship to a child wanting to pursue the arts in college. What also baffles me is that when they do fly into the scene, the erasure of our own doing great things for hip-hop and the community come into play. This isn’t the case for all because of years of establishment but when you have someone that is from the culture, been around the culture, contributing to the culture and someone comes in and takes the spotlight away genuine people, it makes it hard for others to want to do their own thing. They will start to think that they will not matter or get a fair chance because they aren’t from a different background. What example are we setting for the children still growing up in hip-hop?
Culture vultures for the most part just want the fame and money with no intention of helping for the long run. Any one of them that have been around such as the baby boomers and gen-x crowd are honestly just forcing age-old stereotypes into the culture and only giving a pass to the artists who are making trash music to keep people stupid. They are in the now moment and thrive off any opportunity that presents itself to move themselves forward. People know that hip-hop is a cash cow now more than ever and culture vultures will do anything to get a piece. These people don’t even fully understand the culture. It’s like they spent an entire summer listening to nothing but Rakim all the way to J. Cole and say “yeah, I’m hip-hop!” It’s actually weird to say the least, how they know so little but think they can be apart.
However, we must stop allowing outsiders to come in and falsely immerse themselves. If you want to be apart of hip-hop then do more than just throw events and sell mediocre merchandise. Give back to the community and when it’s time to speak out about social injustices…do so! The vultures can’t even do that much. The time is now to stop giving power to these enticing people and continue to uplift the ones really “doing it for the culture”.