Strepsata and I discuss the many issues with cultural appropriation. Is it ever okay to take from another culture that is not yours? We examine many examples like bellydancing, musician MIA, and movies such as The Party and Disco Dancer.
By Kyle Harris
Usama Alshaibi doesn’t think of himself as a model refugee-turned-citizen. He’s neither a poster-child immigrant that Democratic strategists could parade around as a shining example of what happens when the United States opens its arms to Arabs, nor the bomb-wielding anti-American terrorist that President Donald Trump would have us believe immigrants from Iraq must be.
He didn’t join the military or die fighting for the United States in its war that destroyed his home country of Iraq. He was an average student. He experimented with sex and LSD. He found himself in the punk-rock scene of the ’80s. He drew inspiration from the Beats. Kids teased him because of his name and ridiculed him as a foreigner; when he visited his family in Iraq, he was viewed as an outsider American — a misfit. Negotiating sexual liberation, drugs, punk and Islam hasn’t been exactly easy for him, or something he’s been inclined to talk about in the context of his Arab-American identity.
Author and journalist Porochista Khakpour supports Boy from War and you should too.
Gordon Quinn, founder of Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams), discusses Boy from War and the importance of this kind of work. Help us out: http://boyfromwar.com
Alex Cox directed one of the greatest American cult films called Repo Man. It had a huge influence on me as a teenager growing up in Iowa City. Alex Cox supports my new film Boy from War.
There was nothing like his film at the time— it was the notion, this sense that there was this bullshit world out there created by Reagan and his repressed and do-goody just say no to everything ideology of the 80s. We loathed Reagan and punk was an expression of defiance against the status quo. Everything that is wrong with the film Repo Man is what makes it great. The film was instantly familiar but also eerie in how it tapped into our anxieties over nuclear war and nuclear waste. As teenagers it just felt the whole system was rigged and full of shit. Capitalism was winning and any genuine, non corporate expression was seen as a threat by mainstream society.