Rarely does a week go by that a celeb isn't called out for appropriating another culture
Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and even Beyoncé have all faced scrutiny for allegedly stealing from other cultures. And if a ruling passes in the United Nations, then a lottttttt of people are going to need to get rid of their bindis and Native American headdresses.
Indigenous leaders from across the world requested that the UN outlaw cultural appropriation.
Representatives from over 180 countries convened in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the potential law. And although they've been working on three aspects of document for 16 years, cultural appropriation clearly isn't going anywhere, especially if music festivals are any indication.
If passed, the law would expand intellectual property regulations that "recognize and prevent the non-consensual taking and illegitimate possession, sale and export of traditional cultural expressions" like Indigenous designs, dances, traditional medicine, and words, according to the CBC.
The issue is bigger than just copying a design — cultural appropriation is one brand profiting off of another culture's creations.
When Urban Outfitters created a line of Navajo inspired items, such as "Navajo hipster panties" and a "Navajo hipster flask," not only were they offensive, but they violated the Navajo Nation's trademarks. Although the case was settled out of court, cultural appropriation is still alive and well — and most importantly, it's profitable for those who do the appropriating.
Just this week, Tory Burch was under fire for designing a jacket that strongly resembled a traditional Romanian coat. Although the designer claimed the inspiration derived from Africa, she eventually apologized and gave proper credit.
These laws COULD make cultural appropriation a criminal and civil crime. As it should be.
"[The document should] obligate states to create effective criminal and civil enforcement procedures to recognize and prevent the non-consensual taking and illegitimate possession, sale and export of traditional cultural expressions," said law dean at the University of Colorado James Anaya.
Cultural appropriation at the hands of companies or individuals is not only wrong, but also siphoning profits that could improve indigenous communities worldwide, many of which are struggling. Hopefully brands and individuals will improve their creative strategies before it's too late.