The Khalil Amani Reader

Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!

Sometimes a Kilt is just a Kilt! By Khalil Amani

Okay! So the hip-hop world is all up in arms over rapper Kid Cudi wearing a kilt. Heads are calling him a fag for his seemingly feminine attire. My friend, DJ Kayslay has been vociferous in attacking anything “gay-like.” “No black man should wear a kilt!” “You ain’t Scottish!” “That’s their culture nigga!” In classic Kayslay fashion, he asks, in all sincerity, “Since when does a man have to lift up his skirt to get some pussy and a woman have to pull down her pants to get some dick?” Lol!

Rapper Kid Cudi rockin' a kilt

Now I’ve heard it all!

The list of celebrities who’ve worn the Scottish kilt is long—David Duchovny, Kiefer Sutherland, Stone Phillips, Robin Williams, Mel Gibson, Liam Neesom, Vin Diesel, Axl Rose, Mike Myers, Sean Connery, Samuel L. Jackson, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and even the Geico Caveman! There is a certain amount of artistic licensure that comes with being in the limelight. Famous folk can get away with wearing outrageous clothes because it is an assumption that they can buy any kind of clothes they like.

Gieco Caveman rockin' a kilt

But a hip-hop artist—a rapper—wearing a kilt?

No one said shit when Outkast rapper Andre 3000 wore a kilt in UGK’s video “Int’l Player’s Anthem.” I don’t recall hearing a peep about 3000’s sexuality! Andre is known for his outrageous dress code, so we accepted his kilt without dissing his sexuality. He wore that kilt and owned it!

Andre 3000 rockin' a kilt

Could your run-of-the-mill brotha from the ‘hood get away with wearing a kilt? I guess that would depend on how big he is, what his street-cred is like, where he’s going, and who he’s rolling with.

Kayslay has suggested snatching a kilt off a nigga in the ‘hood! Lol!

The biggest pseudo-argument against black men/rappers wearing kilts has to do with “borrowing another people’s culture.” All-of-a-sudden, some of us wanna play the “culture card!” All-of-a-sudden, “borrowing” something from another culture becomes a hip-hop no-no—a rap faux pas! (Mis-step) Nowhere in Scottish culture is a kilt seen as feminine attire! But when it is exported to America, we attach the “fag/gay” label to it. (We, hip-hop heads, love to display our ignorance before the world! Why? Why? Why?) Why do we change the meaning? Why do we redefine a garment that is older than our country? Why do we disrespect and bastardized another culture’s couture (clothes) when it reaches our shores? Who are we (as Americans) that we should denigrate the wardrobe of the Scottish people—a self-serving act of masculinity and heterosexualism that reeks of homophobia?

Cultural Imperialism in hip-hop!

If we can acknowledge that the kilt is Scottish, why can’t we acknowledge that it is a masculine piece of clothing and that the rapper who wears the kilt is not only borrowing the cultural garment of the Scottish, the kilt, but also, all that it stands for and represents? Why the definition shift? Why do we start name-calling and speculating about the kilt-wearer’s sexuality?

Is there some deeper, more cynical/sinister mindset at work? I think so!

Hip-hop heads, listen up! “Borrowing Scottish culture” is a scapegoat for our warped sense of masculinity and maleness and homophobia, which harbors in the minds of many narrow-minded people who have imposed their own definition of the wearing of a kilt. We have superimposed our cultural standard of masculinity unto another’s culture! As Oprah would say, “What’s really going on under the surface?” Since when did “cross-cultural borrowing” become a subject for black America?

We are the most borrowed-from and borrowing-people on earth!

If “cultural borrowing” is the problem, I want every weave-wearing model, sckipper, video-vixen and hood-rat to return your lace-front weaves to your Indian sisters! That shit ain’t your hair! It’s from India! Didn’t you see Chris Rock’s movie, “Good Hair” and all those bald-headed Indian women walking around?

If “cultural borrowing” is the problem, I want every baller that’s pushing a German Mercedes or Maybach to start driving a Chrysler300—some shit invented by a nigga!

Don’t backpedal now!

Give up your Italian shoes—your Fendi, Gucci, Louie bags! (I can hear birds chirping and rats pissing on cotton at the very thought of giving up your designer handbags!)

Can you start to see how bogus the “Kilt-is-for-the-Scottish” argument is? That’s not the problem at all! The problem is that we Americans identify “kilts” as “dresses,” thus we argue that dresses are for women and any man who wears one must be gay—a faggot. This is the root of our disdain for kilts—because it begs the question of our sexuality. But, if we could, for a moment, put our narrow-mindedness—our cultural imperialism—our uber-masculinity—our homophobia to the side—we can put into context the wearing of the kilt. Kid Cudi is not gay and neither is it gay to wear a kilt! What’s gay is thinking that a man that wears a kilt is gay! Why? Because there is no precedence to make that argument! Sometimes a kilt is just a kilt!

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