New Democratic party candidate Niki Ashton has deleted her social-media posts containing Beyoncé lyrics because a Twitter account attributed to Vancouver’s Black Lives Matter said that using those lyrics was “appropriating black culture.”
Ashton had posted “Like Beyoncé says, to the left. Time for an unapologetic turn to the left for the #NDP, for social, racial, enviro, and economic justice. #ndpldr” above a meme that read “To the Left, to the Left. nikiashton2017.ca,” according to a screenshot of the tweet obtained by the Huffington Post Canada.
Now, this may seem like a harmless post. It may seem like just another politician shamelessly trying to connect with voters by demonstrating that she, like, knows things about pop culture.
But apparently not, because in response, a Twitter account attributed to Vancouver’s chapter of Black Lives Matter tweeted:
— BlackLivesMatter YVR (@BLM_Van) March 14, 2017
Ashton, being the self-described “intersectional eco-feminist” that she is, immediately removed the post and thanked BLM for calling her out on her ignorance:
TY @BLM_Van We removed it.Not our intention to appropriate.We're committed to a platform of racial justice+would appreciate ur feedback.
— Niki Ashton (@nikiashton) March 14, 2017
Well, Ashton, since you asked, here’s my feedback: What the f$%^ is happening?
Maybe this is the cloud of my white privilege blinding me from the light of the truth, but I really just cannot understand how using lyrics from Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” (and crediting Beyoncé) equals “appropriating black culture.” It would be one thing if Ashton had taken lyrics from a song that was about “black culture,” but “Irreplaceable” is a song about a breakup, and I can tell you based on personal experience that breakups are definitely a thing for white people too.
So what does this Black Lives Matter group want? They want white people to not reference songs from black artists? They want white people to reference lyrics from white artists only? Maybe, but I’m pretty sure that the people who complain about cultural appropriation are the same people who complain that white people aren’t making enough of an effort to include black artists in mainstream culture, and forbidding white people from even referencing black artists seems like a really odd way to go about solving this problem.