Hip-Hop and African-American culture continues to influence the world. As far away as Japan, teens emulate what they see in the favorite rap music videos and magazine. African-Americans have always been and continue to be trendsetters to a new generation of youth worldwide. What we wear, the music we create and our style, while some put black people down as a race, they still want to be just like us.
In Japan pale skin was usually a sign of beauty by traditional yardsticks. But members of a new generation of hipsters, influenced by the success of hip hop culture associated with African-Americans, are veering away from this measure; and are aspiring to be black.
They call it “B-Styling”, a reference to “black lifestyle”. Japanese teenagers and young women who find themselves in a world where hip-hop has become a global phenomenon for the young, the rebellious and the stylish are wanting to look as black or African-American as possible.
Vice.com reported; Dutch photographer Desiré van den Berg has spent the past seven months traveling around Asia. She lives in Hong Kong at the moment, but when she was in Tokyo, back in December 2013, she met Hina, a 23-year-old who works at a trendy Tokyo boutique called Baby Shoop. Hina’s shop has the tagline “Black for Life.” She describes its products as “a tribute to Black culture: the music, the fashion, and style of dance.”
These youngsters spend hours in tanning salons, acquiring complexions that almost resemble those of their role models. They spend sizeable amounts of money buying bling, hooded sweaters and curling/braiding their hair, transforming their wardrobes to become replicas of “black lifestyle”.
This phenomenon casts an interesting light on how different races and cultures actually influence each other in the globalised world of information. In some African countries there is a trend of women who ‘beautify’ themselves by bleaching their skin using products containing the dangerous compound hydroquinone.
It seems that hip hop’s global ascendance is highlighting the beauty of being black. Maybe, one day, some brothers and sisters will start to believe it and realize the power we have and the responsibility of how we allow ourselves to be portrayed by the mainstream media and corporate-owned record companies.
Source/ thisisafrica.com and Vice.com