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Rasta Trent: Epitome of Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation: The unhealthy aspect of multiculti, where a more powerful culture raids a less powerful neighboring culture … and appropriates aspects of that culture without proper acknowledgment of the “home culture” or understanding the cultural context from which these aspects spring. Examples: yoga, Buddhism, hip hop and ebonics-derived slang, Asian and Tribal tattoos, etc.

To many, the term implies that culture can actually be “stolen” through cultural diffusion.

So this brings us toRasta Trent“, an amazing audiovisual clip from Saturday Night Live. Trent is a white boy from the suburbs, going to University, singing and posing as a Rastafarian. It is satire, yet the irony of it is that the cultural appropriation of a black culture by white people is so extremely prevalent and normalized in this society.

Here we have Trent, an all-American, blue-eyed, blonde-haired white kid, attempting to act like he’s a black Rastafarian from Jamaica.

It hits the spot for me, I can laugh at it because it is absolutely ridiculous. It is the epitome of offensive theft of an oppressed culture. Exposing how white boys want to be cool by acting like they belong to or can understand what it’s like to be apart of a black culture. All I see is blonde dreads, complete white/middle class privilege, and a total lack of awareness. The best part is when Rasta Trent is singing and he walks by a group of black Rastafarians, and suddenly gets really nervous and mumbles his words, then picks up again once he’s passed them. Talk about white guilt to bring you some self-awareness. Oh and WTF is Nayabingi!?!?

Watch the video of Ras Trent!!!