Marc Jacobs Fake Dreadlocks, Ben Kingsley As Sardaar: And Other Cases Of Cultural Misappropriation

Marc Jacobs has recently been in the line of fire, due to his usage of fake dreadlocks on his models for his New York Fashion Week show.

But it was not just the use of dreadlocks which caused such a big uproar, it was the fact that even after including dreadlocks in the entire look, the models were for the majority white.

There were perhaps one or two other models that were not white, and it is this that has greatly angered the black and African-American community.

Dreadlocks have a close bond with the African culture and are a very distinct part of it. So for Jacobs to use that part, but then instead of taking actual African models with real dreadlocks and using fake dreadlocks on white models, just seems like a big mockery of their culture.

I mean, how hard would it have been for Marc Jacobs to just get African models and used them for the fashion show.


However, sadly this is not the first time that Hollywood has misrepresented people of colour, or used one aspect of their culture to their advantage but actually left out the people itself.

Last year, a Hollywood movie called Learning To Drive came out, with Ben Kingsley.

No big deal, he is a good actor, so why exactly am I talking of it?

Because the character that Kingsley essayed was that of an immigrant Sardaar.

Yup, you get my point there, don’t you all?

I mean, this was just last year, not a long time back that they could not find an actual Sardaar to play the role.

Nothing against Kingsley, but Anupam Kher could also have just as easily been cast in that role. Or let alone, cast a real Sardaar, why cast a British actor and then have him play a Sardaar?

That is just so bizarre.

And apart from that, this year I came across the post by George Takei, and his comments on the white washing by Hollywood.

Frankly, I agree with him wholeheartedly.

These are not the olden times, where it was difficult to actually get the people from that culture in a particular role.

Asian actors are rapidly making a name for themselves in  Hollywood, and there is no dearth of them.

So why was Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton, who are not Asians, cast in roles that had their whole basis on their cultural identity?

Again, not doubting their acting abilities, but when it comes to characters, who’s one of the main characteristics is their culture, then casting someone from another culture, can just completely change their very significance.

Signing off, I would just like to say that, these people, can all say that it was inspiration or it was the best person for the role or a number of other excuses. But we all know the real truth, don’t we?

Image Credits: Google Images

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  1. So… You didn’t know that Ben Kingsley is half Gujarati? “Sir Ben Kingsley (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji; 31 December 1943) is a British actor with a career spanning over 50 years.”

    I sure hope you see this comment… ::sigh::


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