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Views on cultural appropriation documented on film


NOTTINGHAM TRENT University graduate Nana Muyovwe met-up with a range of cultural commentators, including Voice Online Editor Andrea Photiou and in-house journalist Leah Sinclair as well as fellow students; in order to produce her documentary #FindersKeepers.

#FindersKeepers explores the meaning of cultural appropriation and its impact on black originators.


Muyovwe spoke with our Andrea Photiou about the creative process and her own view on cultural appropriation:

Q: What inspired you to create the documentary?

A: The documentary was inspired by the constant backlash that white celebrities faced for appropriating black culture. I also have an interest in fashion and a love for black culture so I wanted to combine the two interests to produce something that I think many young black people could relate to.

Q: Have you done any similar work or study in the past, in terms of film production?

A: Having just graduated with a Broadcast Journalism degree from Nottingham Trent University, we had done a lot of television and radio production which wasn't documentary-focused; but rather local news. However, I had done a previous video regarding black women in the media which focused on the struggles black women face in the industry and those who have been influential.

Q: How easy or hard was it to get people to agree to share their views on camera?

A: It was quite easy to get people to share their views, mainly because it was from the perspective of young black people who have been quite vocal on the topic. Before I filmed the interviewees, I ensured that they were comfortable being on camera prior shooting so it will make the filming process easier and I could get a more authentic response.

Q: What have you learned, if anything, about popular views on cultural appropriation?

A: There is a misconception between appropriation and appreciation. It is hard to pin point what exactly appropriation is and how this has an affect on a culture considering every 'case' of appropriation is different. However, I do think mainstream celebrities should take responsibility for their image and what they are trying to portray or convey through it especially if they are going to embed culture.

Q: Have your ideas on cultural appropriation changed or perhaps become more reinforced after listening to different points of view?

A: They have definitely become more reinforced, especially because during the filming and editing of the documentary there were more examples of appropriation rising from mainstream celebrities.

Q: What do you think future debates on cultural appropriation for younger generations might include?

A: I think debates will increase because social media is getting bigger and bigger which ultimately is providing a platform for people to share their views even more. However, cultural appropriation might be considered more now that it is an open discussion and people are thankfully becoming more aware about the issue.

Follow @_thisisnana on Twitter.

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