Amandla Stenberg Slams Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry: Stop Stealing Black Culture!

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Cultural appropriation can be a difficult thing to pin down.

Without the African-American community's hundreds of years of contributions, hip hop, rock and pop music wouldn't exist (at least not as we know them now), so in a way, every white artist is guilty of some pretty liberal borrowing.

Of course, no one is saying that non-black musicians should stop making music influenced by black culture. (That would be impossible.)

But there are times when cultural borrowing crosses the line into theft, such as when white artists clumsily copy certain fashions, dances and styles of speech with no understanding of their origin or the plight of the people who created them.

That's when things get messy, and Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg recently described this phenomenon in an enlightening YouTube clip that's quickly going viral:

In just over 4 minutes, Stenberg touches on topics as varied as the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the feud between Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks.

The problem, she explains, is that black culture is more popular than ever, while institutionalized racism against black individuals is at an all-time high.

When Madonna wears a grill or Taylor Swift features twerking white hip hop dancers in her "Shake It Off" video, they may not see themselves as contributing to a nationwide disconnect between a culture and its people, but Stenberg argues that that's exactly what they're doing.

"What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?" Stenberg asks at one point. 

It's a question that both popular musicians and working class Americans would do well to consider.

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