Diplo hits back at Major Lazer critics: 'No one accused The Clash of cultural appropriation'
Diplo fights back against criticism of cultural appropriation in the music video for Major Lazer's hit song "Lean On". Is there a line in the sand between what's considered "artistic inspiration" versus cultural appropriation?This article originally appeared on NME
Some commentators objected to the use of Indian culture and imagery in the group's video for breakthrough hit 'Lean On', while their music's relationship with Caribbean genres like dancehall, reggae and soca has also been called into question.
Speaking in this week's NME, available in print and online from Friday (September 2), Diplo says his group's music simply reflects his upbringing in an ethnically diverse quarter of Miami, Florida.
"Haitians, Latinos, Cubans, white kids, Jewish kids and hood kids were all in the same neighbourhood and the same schools," he explains. "Miami is the most diverse place for human beings I've ever been to."
He also says that he was encouraged to develop a varied taste in music from a young age, 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."
"I grew up and I loved music," he continues. "I didn't think: 'Oh, I'm white, I've got to play a guitar.' I never had a guitar."