This is like accusing anyone using a synthesizer who isn’t a nerdy white guy of appropriation. Or that bullshit artist Pablo Picasso for appropriating the style he used for Geurnica. WTF?
From Wikipedia: Developed in the 1880s, the ukulele is based on two small guitar-like instruments of Portuguese origin, the cavaquinho and the rajao, introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants from Madeira and Cape Verde.
As someone begat at least partially of a line of Europeans who happened to have successively thought it’d be a good idea to have sex, I’ll forgive the Hawaiians for appropriating the uke if I can graciously be let off the hook for just wanting to play a goddamn musical instrument. Because, seriously, it’s the ukulele. I promise, the first guy who appropriated those Portugese instruments and played his fucking heart out did not create it because he wanted people to get pissed off at each other. There’s a reason ukulele punk never took off, people. Ever heard ukulele fronting a death metal band? If you’re getting pissy and there’s a uke involved, you’re not smoking enough pot. And pot’s for everyone, so do it free of appropriation-guilt, ok?
Am I a presumably white male literally smothered in privilege sauce? Of course. Is accusing anybody in the world who isn’t one of the less than 300,000 native Hawaiians of cultural appropriation for playing the ukulele kind of ignorant? Um. Yes.
I think the situation is more complicated than either of these posts makes out.
The ukulele isn’t a sacred and centuries old part of Hawaiian culture like the art of indigenous Australians. So there’s nothing inherently offensive about playing it.
But the history of the ukulele is inextricably linked in with white people stealing Hawaii from the Hawaiians. While Lorrin A. Thurston was using ukulele bands to sell Hawaii to America as a tourist destination he was also working to overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy and replace it with a junta of America businessmen.
And since then the ukulele has cropped up as part of the Hawaii tourist idyll cleansed of Hawaiians.
So I think that ukulele players should show respect for Hawaiian culture - without which we wouldn’t be playing the ukulele - and refrain from singing songs that paint Hawaii as a paradise island populated entirely by pliant, exotic women and make Hawaiian out to be a wiki-wacky-woo nonsense language. And not use images of scantily clad, Europeanised hula girls to push product.
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- sixbucks said: A long time ago I had a heated discussion in which a young African-American man jumped my shit because Picasso “raped” the art of Africa. He was wearing a tartan plaid shirt. I thought it was pretty funny.
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