In defense of Thug Kitchen: Look at Iggy Azalea

There has been an uproar of accusations of cultural appropriation after the internet found out the writers behind vegan blog Thug Kitchen are white. Not only are the vegan bloggers white, but they are white hipsters. The nerve. Apparently these bloggers are guilty of cultural appropriation because they swear a lot (sample recipe: “yeah, garlic and nectarines, calm the fuck down”). Wait, white people don’t swear? Also, the title of their blog contains the word “thug” which it has been suggested implies black people. Thug Kitchen has since been compared to a minstrel show.


The word thug has recently been co-opted in the news and social media as shorthand for black victims of violent crime. Some are saying “thug” is the new n-word. That is a very dicey and delicate situation indeed, but I’m not sure Thug Kitchen, who picked their name years ago, has this recent perversion in mind.

If you’re inclined to stamp out cultural appropriation, I have a much better target for your ire.

Let’s take a look at say, a top artist on the pop charts right now, Iggy Azalea. She grew up on a modest farm in Australia with loving, married parents who cried when she left and begged her to stay, yet she fakes an Atlanta accent and writes songs about being on her own as a poor teen in Miami. Wait, she always had the warm arms of her family welcoming her home at any moment. There are actual teens on their own in the middle of Miami right now. There are actual people with southern accents. Iggy Azalea also writes lyrics like “I’m a black widow” where she talks about killing her mate. Iggy Azalea is white. Is she making a parody of southern American women in bad situations?

Swooping in to rap about being a prostitute (“never turn down money” – awesome lyric, dude. I’ll give you $50 to clean my basement. What? You’d turn that down??) or being poor when you’re not or faking a damn accent and pretending to be whole different person from an entirely different place in order to sell records and make money, THAT is cultural appropriation.

Look, Iggy Azalea’s music is catchy and I can’t say I haven’t jammed to it in my mom wagon, but if we’re going after anyone who “culturally appropriates” it’s hypocritical to skewer Thug Kitchen and not our biggest pop stars.

I suppose on the contrary, Miley Cyrus was also under attack for cultural appropriation when she twerked at the music awards. Hm. Yet Iggy Azalea twerks and it’s totally fine. What is the difference?

Maybe the only people we roast are people shilling things we don’t like. Yup, that sounds about right for the internet.


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