Imitation is Flattery: Theft vs. Appreciation

Over the horizon has come a massive wave of cultures and artists who’s chief complaint isn’t that their art is unappreciated, but far from it, that their art is being appropriated aka stolen. Let’s dig in.

  1. The Beatles stole Chuck Berry’s songs and he never got proper credit or credence


Michael Jackson was inspired by James Brown and then took the baton further with the moonwalk

  1. Rappers by-and-large steal other’s music (often from the 70’s and 80s) and call it “sampling”


Radiohead who is largely “influenced” by Jazz but who’s traces aren’t carbon-copies

* Note how black culture has animosity for average rappers (Macklemore, Vanilla Ice) who are white, but without fail regard Eminem as the best Rapper alive who is beyond criticism. He didn’t steal or do injustice to the art form that is “native” to a certain culture, he did it his way.
* If you speak Spanish to a Latino who speaks Spanish, and do so fluently, you show a respect for the culture. If you speak poor Spanish to a Latino who speaks Spanish, it comes off as tarnishing his culture with either mockery or caring not for the excellence with which you speak Spanish.
* The difference between theft and appreciation is how well you steal and further the culture. If you simply do what another group does and do not contribute or honor to that group, the group goes up in arms. If you do pay homage to those before you, you will earn supporters.
* Theft is so insulting to those you steal from, not because it’s morally wrong, but because you ignore and disrespect the well you draw water from. Indians would use all of the animal they killed for various purposes in addition to eating the meat. They also prayed over the animal and thanked him for his sacrifice and contribution, even though they killed him. This honored the animal.
*Casanova was a womanizer, but he did it in such a manner that she would love every second of courtship and in parting: He’d buy his lover a gift to honor and thank her for being his lover.

It’s not what you do, but how you do it: Do it well.

Published by Avery

I took my childhood and adult experiences and made it into an entity to learn from. I've helped others steer clear of themselves, and I love to help clients help themselves during our appointments! Set up an appointment at

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