Reading a blog posted by Danielle Henderson, ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ uses black culture to talk more candidly about Asian culture, she talks about Eddie Huang’s performance on cultural appropriation on and off television and whether or not it is appropriate. However from reading this article I found something different that strays from the main topic of the article to tackle. This topic is masculinity through cultural appropriation for Eddie Huang on and off television.
Masculinity, as we all know, is typically defined by someones macho-ness, virility, strength, power and bravery. However through reading Straitjacket Sexuality, by Celine Shimizu, masculinity can be presented and modeled in a wide variety of ways; it is never fixed. Similar to how Bruce Lee’s identification for masculinity is defined by his honor, valor, and respect for women, Eddie Huang’s, I believe, identification for masculinity in his adolescent years is through the manifestation of his love for hip-hop. In the article, it states that Eddie is ‘effectively powerless’, and hip-hop is a remedy to his powerlessness. Taking another quote from the article, Danielle Henderson states, “Young Eddie fully intends to shock with his wardrobe, using it to intimidate bullies and parents alike.” Contents of hip-hop contains many intimidating and crime related elements, such as killing, shooting, theft, and drug related interactions. The quote talks about his wardrobe, which is clearly derived from hip-hop as Eddie is shown to sport many outfits that signify rap artists. Through Eddie’s expression of hip-hop, it allows him to exude a sense of intimidation, due to the prevalent violent connotations that follow with hip-hop. With intimidation, I believe, one can assert power. Correspondingly, through his ability to gain and assert power/intimidation, one will feel more brave. Although through a different approach Eddie achieves masculinity through the manifestation of hip-hop culture.
Tying this back into Henderson’s concern for cultural appropriation or appreciation, I believe that Eddie’s use of hip-hop culture is not seen as cultural appropriation, rather appreciation. As Henderson stated, Eddie is evidently not using the hip-hop culture to insult or marginalize its significance. Instead I see Eddie’s use of the culture or his performance of cultural appreciation is used to reinforce and fortify his identity as an Asian or even better a colored man in an American society.