Hayden Higgens over at The Atlantic is calling out Arcade Fire for exploiting Haiti in Reflektor, accusing it of appropriating and perpetuating stereotypes about Haiti and Haitian culture.
The argument is that the band is Outsider and therefore not entitled to use these symbols.
But then the author partially acknowledges that this is not true.
The band has a longstanding relationship with Haiti, starting with member Régine Chassagne’s ancestry (her parents fled the nation during the Duvalier horrors). They have been dedicated supporters of Partners in Health, which works to eradicate disease in Haiti. As Darville points out, though, audiences generally lack this context, and the onus is on the artist to recognize that fact.
Whoa there cowboy, the onus is on the artist? Where is this rule recorded? That’s a hell of a premise to swallow and I’m not having any of this dog’s breakfast of an argument. Complain that the symbolism is heavy-handed, unsubtle, ugly…or that you just don’t like it, but to argue that the audience must have prior knowledge of a band’s references in order for a band to be allowed a certain artistic expression is just plain silly. We might as well go back and rip that sitar right out of George Harrison’s hands.
(Source: The Atlantic)