Cultural Adoption is Not Appropriation

I wanted to clap, but for some reason, can’t. I wrote a similar essay of the title above dealing more with a concept that I observed as a musician. In the later 1960’s and early 1970's, when bands like The Rolling Stones played songs by Chuck Berry and then wrote songs like Chuck Berry’s, and other blues singers, it eventually resulted in a noticeable wave of success for many blues artists whose names became well-known enough to be mentioned on Saturday Night Live. On the Weekend Update, I recall Jane Curtin saying something like“Singer and guitarist B.B. King was heard to say that he ‘woke up this morning’”. This joke shows an awareness of both the bluesman’s name and the blues idiom. Even if an artist builds his or her whole thing on the cultural trappings of something else, it’s only out of admiration. Only out-and-out theft, meaning singing the exact words and melody with neither credit nor compensation, can be thought of as unethical and is illegal except where the work is in the public domain.

Retired recording, touring musician, lousy coder, 1990 Internet agency founder, podcaster since 2006, learning saxophone in 2018.

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