West indian culture

Viral trend TikTok accused of appropriating and sexualizing South Asian culture

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South Asian creators have spoken out against a viral Bollywood dance routine on TikTok as they believe the trend sexualizes and appropriates South Asian culture.

The trending dance comes from a scene from the 2019 Bollywood movie “Batla House.” In recent months, the South Asian community has been posting TikToks of themselves dancing to the routine with the song “O Saki Saki.”

The dance has since gained popularity with a wider variety of creators, who have changed a move from the routine. In the original dance, actor Nora Fatehi falls to the ground to perform a series of hip thrusts. However, non-South Asian TikTokers have replaced hip thrusts with a body roll, which is a slow, fluid movement of the hips moving up and then down.

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In an interview with InitiatedSouth Asian creators criticized the trending version of the routine, saying the videos fetishize and appropriate South Asian culture.

“There was no acknowledgment where he came from, they just took him and sexualized him,” said Indian dance designer Naomi Namboodiripad.

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“I really wish South Asian culture would be more respected and more people would advocate for a culture where we can be humanized and seen as individuals, who are just a small part of a bigger culture,” he said. she added.

Responding to the trend, Namboodiripad and other South Asian creators have created TikTok videos showing how to dance the routine properly.

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Debotri Dhar, a lecturer in South Asian studies at the University of Michigan who specializes in women’s and gender studies, told Insider that the appropriation of dance is an example of Western society “putting disproportionately highlighting aspects of another culture that seem mysterious and intriguing, and downplaying any similarities in cultural practices.

Dhar explained that the trend is a continuation of a “longer history of sexualization” that began during the British colonization of India, which created the idea that white people were culturally superior to people of color.

Namboodiripad also noted that many non-South Asian creators received more views and likes than South Asian dancers who danced the routine the right way, which she says demonstrates how notions of superiority white are evident in the social media space.

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“Why are we not respected for what we do?” Namboodiripad said. “Why does it have to be a white creator who has to take our culture to elevate?”

Image selected via T-series, @naomi.nambo

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