Okay, so “on fleek” is dumb. It’s also dated; this is a year-old article about mainstream appropriation of Black slang (no mention is made of the origin) via the internet, which is more than a year after I first encountered it. Here’s the rub- the article’s examples, in which the slang words are used are not their native environment-are the whitest things I’ve ever read that weren’t on a bag of Sun Chips.
I have another word to add: Columbusing, which emerged after Miley Cyrus’s twerking incident.
Black culture has always been appropriated in America as the de-facto source of cool (even the source of the word “cool”), strip-mined like Sierra Leone. With the globalized internet, this can happen at a distance-white cool-seekers no longer have to go to”bad” (Black) neighborhoods to learn hep jazz slang-and with speed and reach unparalleled in human existence. One can simply follow a few social media users and open the Pandora’s box of Black Twitter.
It’s not to say I haven’t personally done the exact same thing-I read Damon Young, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chauncey DeVega, and Shaun King regularly, because I want to hear other people’s experiences. I know this partial list of writers is problematic: they’re all heterosexual males, which means it’s about as diverse a list as the editorial staff of The Huffington Post, who have important voices, if not at times culturally homogenized. I try to read good writers of various backgrounds, and occasionally this may stem from unconscious tokenism.
I’m a non-white person who spends most of their time in majority-white spaces: working in STEM, coffee shops, thrift stores. I’m trying to see outside my cultural bubble. By consulting broader perspectives, I hope I can broaden my perspective.
Still doe, my blog stay on fleek.