In the past two weeks there have been a couple of articles and viral videos that have been gaining a lot of attention, one on a national level, and I feel as though one permeated more on a local level for us Californians. I want to use one as a plateau for the other, in conveying some cross cultural concerns.
I’m sure most of us have had a chance to see young Amandla Stenberg’s video “Don’t Cash Crop my Cornrows”, and if you haven’t, you probably should. This is a great video on cultural appropriation in the black community, Amandala comments on black culture and its influence with in the hip hop community and fashion world. She refers to white rappers such as Eminem and Iggy cashing in on this culture that was created around them, she goes on to say, “The line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange is always going to be thin….”. This line hit home, and I was reminded of and article I read earlier in the week that Vice Magazine had published called, “The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend” by Barbra Calderon Douglas.
A few days prior to this article a friend of mine was talking to me about the recent “Chola” trend. “Maroon lipstick, black rubber bracelet, knock off Pendletons, and tight jeans, an outfit one can easily procure from any forever 21 store”. This is fashion now? Wtf…. As I read the article I was noticing all the similarities between Stenberg video and Douglass article. So I started questioning the cross culture the same was Stenberg did, What are the components of Mexican American Culture? Why has it become so popular? First Frida, then dia de los muertos, the “chola chic”style, and now Selena? Please explain!?!?! Douglass-es article went into the history of the chola fashion trend, how it progressed from the early 1940’s with the Zoot Suiters, to what it is today. Popstars, starlets, and fashion Icons all taking a piece of the pie, again “… [that] thin line…”. And as I was starting to somewhat coincide with Douglass and her badass chicana pride, I was reminded of yet another piece of literature!
“Whenever and wherever two or more cultures meet -peacefully or violently- there is a border experience…” This is an article entitled “The Multicultural Paradigm”. It all makes sense now! What Guillermo Pena is conveying to us reader is that cross culture exist everywhere! Culture, is recreated in its own terms with cross culture, and anything and everything is being redefined to create a new cultural typography. So before I can commit to identifying with Chicana mentality of what a “chola” really is or why the cultural exchange is still staging boundaries, I have to remember what Pena said, “Dominant culture is only a meta- reality that only exist in virtual space of the mainstream media and in the ideology and aesthetically controlled spaces…” We have to remember that America is a continent, and with that there is an influx of cultural influence.