The Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian

This was a monster hit in 1987, #1 overall for the  year, by Billboard. Years later it was considered a song not to play, by the BBC during the 1990-91 Gulf War and after 9/11, the same deal in America. The video was dynamic and fun, but curiously, had a tricked out Libyan dictator, Colonel Gaddafi, doing the dance movies, at the 1:50 mark.

The dance moves might now be seen as “cultural appropriation.”

When parts of a minority culture in a political community are taken up by the majority culture, it may not always be done in the original context. It can stereotype and misrepresent what’s being mimicked. The borrowing can be done without consent, in areas like religion and language, sports and their team logos, and cheapen rich traditions, for art like fashion and music. So, like 1980s girl bands such as the Bangles copying what might be stereotypically considered to be how Egyptian people look and dance.

Cultural appropriation can be insensitive and offensive and is seen as such by many.  It can be unintentional, as people become interested in other cultures, and haven’t figured them out well, just yet. The Bangles were just having fun. Cultural appropriate can go too far, like should an Italian pizza joint sell shawarma?


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