Cultural appropriation, the new censorship
A new wave of censorship travels the West under the makeup of the concept of cultural appropriation. Plays, musicals and other artistic manifestations are annulled by the pressure of minority groups that denounce even the creators who intend to express their homage to the cultures dominated by ancient colonialism.
The Spanish singer Manu Chao is acclaimed in Latin America, whose musical wealth is inspired by the creation of many of his countless successes. In Canada, Chao and his group would perhaps see their concerts voided by cultural appropriation. Does the painting painted by Gauguin in the Marquesas Islands have a place in a museum? Should Picasso’s works inspired by African art be sent to the museum store? Pizza making must be prohibited beyond Naples. The new sin of dominant cultures towards dominated rages in the American North and especially in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, but it is expanding rapidly in Europe, where minority groups and political forces lacking ideas and militants have found a new springboard to prove that they exist, with the invaluable help of social networks.
Canadian theatrical creator Robert Lepage is not a white racist. Nor is he a supporter of trumpism that reigns on the other side of the border. He is a leftist intellectual who wants to expose in his shows a part of the history of his country and the American continent ignored for centuries by official history. Lepage tries to make known through his art the suffering of indigenous peoples and other marginalized and persecuted minorities. But the new thought police accuse him of the crime of fashion.
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Lepage was forced to cancel his theatrical show, ‘Kanata’, about the life of the first settlers in Canada. A piece in collaboration with the renowned French company, Teatro Del Sol, created in 1964 by Ariane Mnouchkine. The work was denounced for not having among its cast any member of the native community of the country.
For the French company it was an unimaginable intimidation in a democratic country, exercised largely in social networks and in the name of an ideology that the Theater of the Sun will not qualify, but that will respond with its own tools.
Lepage was also the creator of Slave, a theatrical odyssey through traditional African-American songs, cotton fields, railroad construction, slave songs and songs of prisoners dating back to 1930. The tribute to music as a tool for resilience and emancipation, according to the official statement.Slave did not see the light. The six women who made up the choir, ‘only’ two were black. American singer Moses Sumney threatened to withdraw from the Montreal Jazz festival where it was scheduled if Slave continued on the bill. While, Kylie Jenner deletes photo after being accused of cultural appropriation again.
For the Canadian journalist and playwright Rino Morin Rossignol, this debate opposes the far-right ultra-left with extreme right accents, which intends to bleach the public word with bleach, and those who refuse to let this word go through the screen of a dubious ethic that it is not based on humanism, but on a political ideology whose logical purpose would be totalitarianism.
Fashion brands and many singers are denounced for appropriating cultural references to be inspired and earn money with them. But, apart from plagiarism and other robberies that have nothing to do with it, should Johnny Clegg’s albums be buried? Did Nelson Mandela contribute to cultural appropriation when he appeared in 1999 in a concert with Clegg singing the mythical Asimbonanga? Were members of the Savuka group in the collaboration fund of Apartheid?