In an op-ed penned by Detroit, Michigan rapper Angel Haze, matters of cultural appropriation, pop-rap, and other current topics of conversation were discussed.
Haze began her piece, which is featured on the Noisey website, by asking the question, “What would I like to say to white artists making hip-hop?”
The musician then went on to declare the question “a complicated” one, before discussing the appropriation of black culture by white artists. She explained that artists tend to appropriate black culture when it’s beneficial to them.
“In America, it’s still not OK to be black,” Angel Haze said in her op-ed. “People have created this sort of caricature of black people. It’s like fucking Jim Crow all over again. People say they want everyone to be seen as an equal, but they still want to call us niggers. There seems to be this hypocrisy because people want to appropriate black culture but only when it’s cool or beneficial to them. Like, they want to do it, but they don’t want to be in it. And that’s the reason that people don’t have a right, to some extent, to use black music to their own gains.”
Later, Haze labeled artists like Macklemore and Atmosphere “pop-rap,” and also declared that it’s disrespectful when a person uses someone else’s culture for their own benefit.
“For anybody to try to take ownership of that, acting like it’s their history too, is sort of like blackface,” she said. “You wanna put it on but you can’t handle the stigma and shit that comes with it, and you don’t want that stigma. The thing is, there’s hip-hop, and then there’s pop-rap and there’s nothing wrong with pop-rap, in all its forms. There are people like Atmosphere. There’s Macklemore—who I’ve been a fan of for years, when he was just making music in his mum’s basement—but he’s a pop rapper and everyone knows that…I can appreciate all perspectives, but right now there’s such a focus on race in the world that it feels like a punch to the gut when someone who isn’t part of a culture dominantly takes it and runs with it. It’s fucking disrespectful.”
Haze’s op-ed for Noisey isn’t the first time the wordsmith has voiced her opinion on social issues. Last year, she spoke on the stigma of being gay in Hip Hop during an interview with XXL magazine.
“Being gay in Hip Hop is still really stigmatized,” the rapper said last April. “There are so many people in this world that are closet homosexuals. I guess I’m ‘out,’ but people ask me what my sexuality is all the time and I always tell them that it doesn’t matter. You don’t deserve to go through that and you don’t have to let that define who you are.”
Angel Haze’s full op-ed can be read at Noisey.Vice.com.