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Diplo Says Major Lazer Shouldn't Be Accused of Cultural Appropriation

by Cailey Lindberg   Sep 2, 2016 08:53 AM EDT

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Diplo feels strongly that his group Major Lazer should not be accused of cultural appropriation. With the group’s recent hit “Lean On,” some criticized them for using Indian cultural and images in the music video. They have also come under fire for using Caribbean based genres such as dancehall, reggae and soca.

In the interview with NME, Diplo describes how the music can be seen as a reflection of his youth in a racially diverse part of Miami. “Haitians, Latinos, white kids, Jewish kids and hood kids were all in the same neighborhood and the same schools. Miami is the most diverse place for human beings I’ve ever been to.”

He further described developing a diverse taste in music when he was young, saying, “When I grew up, no one told me what I was supposed to listen to. On the radio, Miami bass was always the thing for me, and heavy metal - that was big in Florida too. My parents listened to country. Rap was on the radio.”

Diplo expressed that while he is white, he never thought he had to play the stereotypical “white guy” incident of guitar. When speaking about the cultural appropriation, he expressed that the way Major Lazer is seen in the music industry might be different if he did. “I really f*cked that up.” He said. “I only had turntables. I wish I got a guitar, then I wouldn’t have so much criticism. For me, the band that’s most influential to us is The Clash. Nobody said: ‘You’re culturally appropriating’ when they made ‘Rock The Casbah’.”

He also noted that Major Lazer doesn’t party heavily together when they are on the road because they are “too old.”

Diplo may be the face of Major Lazer, but not the only member. Jillionaire is a Trinidadian DJ and the third member, Walshy Fire, was born in Florida to a Chinese and Jamaican family.  

In other Diplo news, the DJ has been touring with his Mad Decent Block Party over this summer and this fall. The traveling festival has featured artists such as Tiesto, Baauer, AlunaGeorge, DJ Snake, D.R.A.M., and Kaskade amongst others. The festival will make 13 stops during the tour, ending in Los Angeles in early October. Notably, “True Colors” singer Kesha is involved with three dates on the tour.

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