My Culture is NOT Your Costume – Upspoken

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My Culture is NOT Your Costume


Upspoken is counting down to Halloween and we’re taking one for the team because we are tired of people making our culture their costume. So here is a PSA including a list called “What You Not Gone Do this Halloween” – and remember, sharing is caring. Just tell folks you wanted to spare them from becoming an embarrassing meme.

Share your own Halloween special edition of “you bet not” tips in the comments below!

Not “Boxer Braids” or “Bo Derek Braids” or whatever else people want to rename them, this look was co-opted and we aren’t here for it. The world should know these are actually Fulani braids with origins in North Africa and the Middle East, before they merged with West African tribes. The Fula people popularized these traditional braids…not a White American actress.

(Source: Kim Kardashian Snapchat)

If you can’t support the entirety of our history, culture, and activism, we’re not here for any locks, afro wigs, cornrows or other Black hairstyles on non-Black people. So we’re asking people to think before they braid.

Our bodies are strong, curvy and beautiful, but they’ve also been sexualized and commodified by others. While our bodies have been ignored or mocked by the media, non-Black women are praised and glorified for paying for our same body features. Upspoken contributor, Dwana White, covers this exact issue in how we can reclaim our beauty.

So, we don’t want to see any added pads while trying to get that “Beyoncé booty” this Halloween. All women’s body types are beautiful and should be respected, not appropriated for a costume.

(Source: USA Today)

Bottom line: Yes, Blackface is still racist yet we see it every year. It’s not confusing. It’s intentional and dead wrong. And let’s talk about specific facial features. In recent years, full lips have been getting positive attention in the media, but many of us remember all too well being mocked by society and the media because of this genetic blessing. Our features aren’t a trend we can take off and put on when folks decide it’s in style and we would appreciate it if everyone remembered that this Halloween.

(Source: Devone Byrd/Pacific Coast News)

With that said, we do appreciate folks who celebrate Black culture – from our history to our artists. We understand the desire to honor our people, but it must be done right, and costumes honor. If you see anyone committing one of the above infractions, feel free to speak up or slide them this tip sheet. And let us know if you need reinforcements – as Upspoken women we support each other and are stronger together.