Wee note on tech comm and cultural aspects

I was going to briefly mention this in class yesterday but our conversations got so interesting, I felt it best to just post up here and see what you guys thought.

Recently, MTV UK posted on their Twitter account and website about this now popularized hairstyle of, as they call them, “boxer braids.” Of course, because Kim Kardashian is seen with this particular hairstyle, all of a sudden it is “having a total moment right now.” The article then goes on to give a step by step guide on how to be like Mrs Kim West, accompanied by a short visual demonstration through YouTube. Yes, it satisfies those who read it and want to know how to do this hairstyle, thus in this sense it serves as a piece of technical information for those within the UK sphere. However, looking to the US, in terms of technical communication and the things we discussed in class last week, I thought this good be a good example of MTV UK not being aware of their global audience and, perhaps most importantly, not doing their research on the cultural and social implications of posting such a text to the world through a virtual space.

In response to this, the African American online community and media outlets, namely therroot.com and essence.com, expressed their frustration on the lack of cultural consideration and how, to a certain extent, this is a form of “black appropriation”and argue that their people have been rocking this hairstyle for centuries. Now, I am fully aware that I am not African American and nor can I even begin to understand the anger and frustration, especially at such heated times as these at present, when a certain culture that’s not yours tries to undermine or even ignore the history of another. Maybe I’m overthinking it; maybe this is not even relevant to our discussions or to tech comm, and maybe I’m just being too critical of MTV UK’s approach to it all, but when I read it and saw the responses to it, I couldn’t help but think if the writer of this article at MTV UK would have done a better job at doing some background research, been more audience aware (not just people int he UK reading this, particular since it’s through social media), and last but not least, taken better care of how the piece is written (language, tone) then perhaps these negative responses and therefore increasing frustrations would never have been inferred.

Here’s the link to both the MTV UK article and then the subsequent responses to it:

http://www.mtv.co.uk/kim-kardashian/news/how-to-do-boxer-braids-tutorial

http://www.theroot.com/blogs/the_grapevine/2016/02/mtv_uk_renames_cornrows_boxer_braids_because_appropriation.html

http://www.essence.com/2016/02/20/rolls-eyes-according-mtv-uk-cornrows-are-now-called-boxer-braids

Have a good weekend beautiful people!

 

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