Yesterday a tweet popped up in my inbox about a sub-culture in Japan, B-Style. B-Style, short for “black life style”, is made up of young people who embrace black/hip hop culture. This is not the first occurrence with this trend. There was a documentary on posted YouTube a few years ago, but recently Vice.com published an article featuring an interview with Dutch photographer Desiré van den Berg. She went to Tokyo last year and met Hina.
Being honest, when I first saw a Hina I said to myself “she could pass!” After further reading, I learned that she tans everyday (not the healthiest thing in the world) in order to darken her skin, she gets her hair braided by Africans, and she works at a clothing store called “Baby Shoop” that sells hip hop inspired clothing. To me, this screams that for Hina, B-Style isn’t a costume, it’s a lifestyle. And no this isn’t “blackface” because they are not doing this for the purpose of a costume, humiliation, or entertainment.
Now, I know a lot of black people are probably tripping out about this because B-Style is a reflection of the stereotypes black people get everyday and the whole “people want to be black but don’t want to be black” ideology. I get it, I really do. But, I must say that I don’t see it that way. Black culture is not hip hop culture. Hip hop culture is a sub-culture of black culture. Honestly, it’s easy to box this by saying “this is a stereotype because every black person is not like this, therefore I’m offended”. It’s a bit deeper than that. At the root of it, we have to start embracing hip hop culture as a part of black culture because, some people live this lifestyle everyday, and there is nothing wrong with that. If it is a part of our culture, it is a part of who we are. The sad thing is, people of other races and ethnic groups will embrace it before we do. B-Stylers embrace hip hop culture with pure flattery, and I think that’s pretty cool. That’s not to say that I agree with the tanning everyday, because like I said, that’s unhealthy, both physically and mentally. The interesting thing is, they dress like people did in the late 90’s early 2000’s. I’m talking dookie rope chains, colored contacts, and everything.
Check out the documentary below:
What do you think about this?