So what’s the deal with the scarf? Is Kanye cold? Does he like to keep his neck warm? Where do I get one? Are they expensive?
The truth is, music and political movements have always come hand in hand. Social angst is the origin of Rap and Hip Hop music.
So what is Kanye, one of the world’s most influential artists of our time, saying?
Before you head over to the nearest swamp-meet, let me drop some knowledge.
The scarf is also known as a kaffiyeh, a traditional headdress of Arab men.
The States of Palestine and Israel have been fighting against each other for national identity and land for decades. To say that many people have died is an understatement.
There are two major areas, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Palestinians share these territories with Israelites. Within these territories, Palestinians have two major political groups, Hamas and Fatah. The Hamas are seen by Israel as terrorist Muslim extremists and peace negotiations to this day have failed, the results: internal bombings, warfare, and general chaos. Not to mention lots of confusion towards Palestinians. The way in which Israel has reacted towards the general Palestinian community is under constant criticism. American understanding towards our own viewpoint of Muslims is also questioned. Do we see all Muslims as extremists? As terrorists? If so, why?
Back to the scarf. More than just keeping you warm, wearing the kaffiyeh is a political statement. Some argue Kanye is being sympathetic towards Palestinians, who may be Hamas, who may be terrorists. Allegedly. We think. Don’t quote me. Others argue Kanye is using his celebrity to push a more collective approach towards peace between Israel and Palestine. I like the PEACE idea better.
Recently, celebrity chef Rachael Ray wore a kaffiyeh for a Dunkin Donuts commercial. There was so much uproar from general audiences, Dunkin Donuts pulled the ad. Kanye is not the only one making the statement, Chris Brown and Lupe Fiasco, also rocks the kaffiyeh, as well as Kirsten Dunst and soccer cutie, David Beckham. You can see the kaffiyeh making an appearance in Wu Tang’s M.E.T.H.O.D Man music video.
Are Kanye, Rachael Ray, Chris Brown, Lupe Fiasco, Kirsten Dunst and David Beckham terrorist? I highly doubt it. But, if you are still not sure how you feel about Muslims…
2Pac was Muslim, and his lyrics, “to live and die in L.A” are used by Palestinian Muslim youth living in this conflict, as “to live and die in West Bank”.
Clearly, music influences politics, just as politics influences music.
So before you run out and grab a scarf from the Korean lady at the swamp-meet, and before the kaffiyeh becomes another fashion trend, know what it means and be ready to drop some knowledge on someone who asks you about it.