2004 was an epic year for the hip hop group outcast; they were nominated for their song Hey- Ya which got worldwide recognition. The duo performed the song during the Grammies where Andre 3000 dressed up as an Indian native as he danced to the song .The beginning of the song opened up with a dance that comprised of drums and smoke that which arose from a tee pee shaped structure .This was presided by a group of female dancers who bumped and grinned with skimpy costumes, braided hair and feathered headgear (Salim Muwakkil 1).
Native Indians have gone though allot ever since the emergence of the white settler’s .They are therefore sensitive to the way their culture is portrayed by other people .Outcasts portrayal of the native Indian culture was therefore insensitive to the native Indians .The use of their costumes was dehumanizing due to the objectifying of the native Indians as go go girls and warriors .Another problem was the disrespect of the dressing which is an importance source of recognition for the Indians .Apart from disrespect of the native Indians such performances usually fail to give the correct interpretation of a particular culture in this case the native Indians. (Stereotyping of Native Americans at the 2004 Grammy Awards 1)
After the performance of the song the group got a standing ovation from the crowd that seemed to be impressed with the performance .After the Grammies, complaints were launched against CBS and Arista records that represents the group. The performance was deemed as racist and was compared to the performances sexual performance white people used to perform in black masks. (Stereotyping of Native Americans at the 2004 Grammy Awards 1)
My initial reaction of this performance was not of shock seeing as the Grammy performances were always racy in nature and have a theme of enhancing the performances and make them stand out. As I viewed the performance again I noticed that the group in its quest of trying to be original ended up being offensive to the native Indian community and the performance became uncomfortable to watch.
Does it affect you perception on the Grammies
The Grammies have been the award show that stands out from the other award shows such as the Oscars, Golden Globe, etc. This is where the artists let loose and dress more provocatively so as to make a statement. The performance of the Grammies does not change my perception seeing as artists always take different cultural attires and incorporate them in their performances. Despite this I think that the organizers of the function should tone down on by checking the type of performances the artists are going to perform.
The Pow wow performance.
The Pow wow performance which involves the dancing of girls using religious attire is disrespectful to the native culture .The incorporation of traditional dances into hip hop videos becomes disrespectful when the dancers begin to dance provocatively in ways that are offensive to the native culture (Salim Muwakkil 1).
What happens when the appropriation process happens in the other direction?
Taking big risks can either result in high reward or failure .The performance of Outcast was supposed to create a buzz that would help the rest of their album do well in the charts (Salim Muwakkil 1).Instead it led to the group being typecast as insensitive to the native Americans .When the reception of a performance is not received well. The artist should apologize and ensure that they are more careful in their future performances.
Pros and cons of the innovative fusion in both cases
The fusion may be well received by fans who may want to emulate the type of performance ore attire. Innovative fusion can help the artist receive international acclaim and their performance may go down as one of the most innovative in the Grammy performances.
Performances that backfire can lead to the musicians loosing their fans and being typecast as racist .This acts as bad publicity for the artist seeing as they soil their public image which is important if an artist wants to do well in the music industry.
Comparison of the comments of the Pow wow show to the Outcast performance at the Music Academy Award Show
The comments from the people in YouTube clips in response to the powwow video are not that vicious compared to the comments that Outcast got for their performance in the Grammies .Although the Pow wow performance gets some negative reviews ,majority of the comments tend to praise the innovation of the dance .The Outcast performance took place at the Grammies which attracts an international audience .This may have affected their response due to the fact that the Grammies should maintain some sort of standard in respect to its caliber.
Music and performance is all about being innovative so as to generate a buzz in the industry. This pressure results to artists coming up with absurd themes to keep up with the current trends .Although creativity is ideal, it should be done with the complete observation of sensitiveness of other cultures so as to avoid offending viewers.
‘Stereotyping of Native Americans at the 2004 Grammy Awards’. Web. 9 may 2011.
‘Accepting the Slurs Web’. 9 may 2011.