Diplo Tells Major Lazer Critics, "No One Accused The Clash Of Cultural Appropriation
Thu, 01 Sep 2016 09:11:56
Diplo's side project Major Lazer has been called out for cultural appropriation more than once, including for their use of Indian culture and imagery in their video for "Lean On", and for their continued use of Caribbean music styles like reggae and dancehall. Diplo, in an interview with NME, has responded to these criticisms, claiming that it is just a symptom of his Miami upbringing.
He said, "Haitians, Latinos, Cubans, white kids, Jewish kids and hood kids were all in the same neighbourhood and the same schools. Miami is the most diverse place for human beings I've ever been to." He then explains, "When I grew up, no one told me what I was supposed to listen to. On the radio, Miami bass was always the thing for me, and heavy metal – that was big in Florida too. My parents listened to country. Rap was on the radio. I grew up and I loved music. I didn't think: 'Oh, I'm white, I've got to play a guitar.' I never had a guitar."
Diplo dives deeper into cultural appropriation after that telling the outlet, "I really f***ed that up. I only had turntables. I wish I got a guitar, then I wouldn't have so much criticism. For me, the band that's most influential to us is The Clash. Nobody said: 'You're culturally appropriating' when they made 'Rock The Casbah'.
"I think what makes a great artist is someone who can change the direction of music, not someone who stays the same all the time. Otherwise music would be so f***ing boring."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff