Sequins For All People Equal.

Hanging with Maya Killtron pt 2: Cultural Appropriation, Consumerism and the 1%

Here is part two of our extended interview with the amazing Maya Killtron. We posted part one two weeks ago. To re-cap; we were stuck in downtown rush hour traffic. Our goal was to interview Maya about self-love, body positivity and fashion. That quickly turned into a full on rant session about a everything from snack-time to inappropriate humour. In transcribing our conversation, we realized it became less and less of interview and more of an amazing back and fourth conversation. In reading this be prepared for some tangents!

For this instalment we talk about the difference between being politically correct and being a nice person, fashion faux-pas at Coachella, the inevitable demise of our planet and the dangers of treating yourself to "Treat-Yourself" days.

Part Two:

Lizzy: There are those who are just from a different generation. They always make fun of people for being to politically correct. You see them getting grumpy about it, and those are the people who would grumble "Maybe Trump is right!'. Like, that kind of mentality. I think the thing they are missing is that it's just being nice. It's just communicating and being aware. Sure it goes to far sometimes.

Maya: I think the most important thing is just listening to people sometimes. Like with A Tribe Called Red, they recently called out a lot of festivals and said "We're not gonna commit to playing if you're still going to permit the wearing of head dresses. A lot of people on the other side of things were saying "Who cares? We're supporting your music!". And if someone from a particular culture, namely First Nations is saying "We don't want you to wear head dresses, we find it offensive, can you ban it from your festival?" Why wouldn't you listen to that? That's not coming from like "We don't want you to support our music", no! They're saying "We love your support but maybe don't do that!" In fact, it's not even a maybe. Don't Do That!".

Lizzy: Yes! It's not like they're saying to their fans "We don't like purple popsicles, don't bring any purple popsicles." Like that would be a ridiculous request. This is a deep-seeded, long standing tradition that is fundamentally theirs.

Maya: And unless you understand it completely, even if you don't understand it, just respect someone's wishes. 

Maggie: Is it really making you so happy, wearing that head dress that disrespecting a whole culture, that it's worth it?

Maya: Yeah, there was recently a really funny article. Some dude went around to people at Coachella, mainly white people. They asked them what they were wearing and they would say things like "Well, I'm wearing this loose, really comfortable top." Oh! Some would call that a dashiki. People are completely unaware of what they're wearing. it could be said, that as a Chinese person, I don't like it went people wear mandarine collars. That doesn't encroach on me, culturally. That's something that has made it into fashion and is positive. Whereas, if you're wearing a dashiki, that is something that is arguably, in fact cultural appropriation and you are not aware of it. I think that that is a problem. Then again, I don't wear that stuff, I don't know. I don't feel passionate about encroaching on other people's cultures. It just seems more natural to like, not make someone mad, but then again, I can't speak for everyone.

Lizzy: It's an interesting conversation, because, at the end of the day, anyone can wear whatever the f**k they want to wear, it doesn't seem like that big a deal on the surface, but it is a big deal when people aren't aware of the commentary they are inadvertently making when they put on something that is from another culture.

Maggie: I'm hoping that the majority of the people who do that simply aren't aware. If someone told them, "Hey man! I don't think it's so great for you to be wearing that.." You'd hope most people who would like, "Oh no!".

Lizzy: Right, like as soon as you're made aware you don't really have an excuse anymore. Once an idea is communicated there's no wiggle-room for people being assholes in my mind.

Maya: It is an interesting time, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement. The fact that there is a vocal and very prominent black voice speaking out against violence, discrimination of all types, and there is this sort of back-lash of All Lives Matter. It's like, yes, we know that, but we are not talking about that! This is the systematic separation of two different peoples. One being treated a whole lot worse than another. So why are you commenting on someone else's life? Because of a institutionalized separation of two races. Like, this is so crazy to me. But I understand why it's happening. A lot of people are unable to realize - I don't feel like ignorance is any excuse - but I feel like that often happens with any group of people that have have been marginalized and are now speaking up.

Lizzy: I'm interested to see what the future holds for world-wide communication and how movements manifest through online discussions. The internet is so new and is not going anywhere obviously. Social media is just like a forum of word vomit. Word vomit with a mask. A perfect shield from the real word where you can say whatever you want and be as racist as you want. It can be very negative and it can also be very positive.  I wonder if there will be a protocol. Like a more substantial social media protocol. I think all of these conversations are really coming to light, not only because of the internet, but there is a big part of it that makes having a vocal opinion a lot easier.

Maya: With All Lives Matter it just seems like a lot of people complaining "Well I can't participate in this". Well yes you can, you just have to stand with other people.

If we're gonna get futuristic. This is one of my favourite things to talk about. I feel, in only two to three generations, we are going to be in a fight for survival. The only way we can continue is for dramatic changes in the way we treat the planet and the way that humans survive. We're at an interesting point in history, we are now growing and farming twice as much food as is needed to keep the whole planet sustained, with the most famine. And I think that it is a unsustainable system. We talk about the 99%, ironically because we live in the western world, we're part of a very elite 10% (maybe) of the globe with clean water and resources. It's not sustainable. We may not see the end of it in our life time, but certainly in at least two.

Maggie: I'm watching an amazing documentary right now called Chopped. It's about food and the elements behind cooking our meals. It's about our history and how our brains developed. It talks about how we've moved away from whole foods to more processed foods. It's about companies making the most profit from food industries and how we have adjusted to that system. We now crave all of this processed stuff. I've only watch the first half, but it's amazing. If everyone just ate home-made food, we would eat a lot less! If you have a craving, like a pie or cookies, you can give into that because it's available to you. If you had to make it yourself you might not indulge so much. Imagine baking a cookie from scratch every time you wanted one!

Lizzy: I've found myself in this dangerous situation. I have to be wary of this. So if I've had a hard week, I always say "I deserve this and this and this, I did good this week I deserve to treat myself". Maybe it's a bottle of wine, or maybe I go out to dinner or go shopping. Something consumer driven. And so I did that one day where I treated myself really well. And then it sorted spilled over into the next day and then also into the next day. To the point where I did not deserve those things anymore. It went well beyond me treating myself. It was everything, not just food, but shopping and drinking to the point where it was just getting gluttonous. I had to catch myself. I had to be like, no no no, hold the phone.

Maggie: I think everyone does that. It's the way we were raise, like we deserve that kind of treatment all the time.

Maya: That's a very interesting physiology too. It's sort of bred into us. It's a very quick reward system. Even trickling down into the music industry. There's no patience. So being told that being someone is only going to listen to a small portion of your songs reflects exactly on how long someone is willing to wait for anything. We've gone from what used to be called a drive-through culture to being even more accelerated. A city like New York is very much like this, which is driven entirely by services being delivered to you. We live in such a tiny little box like you can't really cook, you have to have everything ordered in. It's so crowded you can't go shopping so you shop online. You have everything continually delivered to you. The price is being driven down so that it's harder to make a living. It creates this larger and larger disparately between the haves and have-nots. It doesn't stop people from wanting instant gratification from anything. It's about making yourself feel better. And I think anyone in the western world can relate to that. When you obtain something new you feel better.

Maggie: When you get something new you you immediately want what's next. It's not real. I want something new, I want to go shopping, this will make me feel better.

Maya: You wonder what few human responses we have left to things. They're not insignificant, but they're just becoming fewer. We have love and connection to other people. Truthfully, nothing can replace those things, but they are becoming less and less. The very idea that interaction amongst people has been replaced by the internet and your phone. You're more likely to text someone than you are to speak to them on the phone. You're more likely to call someone that go to their house. We don't talk to our neighbours. You arguably know more people, but how well do you know them? Humans are not programmed to know this many people! The space for them in your memory and their significance has been dropping because it's been filled up by volume and not by quality. It's something that we have to do for our careers. But is it damaging the social fabric that humans have developed over the past like, 10,000 years. We don't interact the same and it's happened in one generation! 

Although we reached our destination and had to part ways. we could have kept talking for hours. Maya is one of the most talented musicians in the city. We want to thank her for taking the time to get caught in traffic with us. It truly was an amazing conversation! We have so much love for this girl and we can't wait to see everything she accomplishes. If you missed her performance with us at The Rivoli on May 12t, be sure to check out her single release party for "Never Dance Alone" at Bar Lisa Marie on Friday June 3rd. We'll be there!!


The Spandettes