Decked out in teeth grills, chain necklaces, cornrows, and temporary face tattoos, seniors of all majors dressed up for the hip-hop theme on Music Genre Day during Spirit Week—that is, until this year. Due to complaints of cultural appropriation and racial insensitivity, administration has opted to remove hip-hop from this year’s Spirit Week.

Principal Dr. Susan Atherley intended to discontinue any events that could possibly offend members of the Dreyfoos community, even if it meant disrupting the senior themes that many underclassmen look forward to.

“Some students felt offended by that day,” Dr. Atherley said. “If we can make people feel more comfortable and safe at school, we’re gonna make some decisions to do that.”

Some students had expressed concern with their white classmates dressing in outfits resemblant of hip-hop artists’ fashion, pointing out what they found to be racial ignorance.

“I do personally think that people aren’t trying to culturally appropriate,” communications senior Danelle Eugene said, “but the failure to recognize certain aspects of outfits being cultural appropriation make it not cultural appreciation.”

The fact that a significant portion of Dreyfoos’ community is affluent can further aggravate issues of cultural appropriation, as many students seem as if they are creating a costume from the stereotypical dress of lower socioeconomic classes.

“A lot of the rappers’ styles are almost indistinguishable from basically just minority fashion,” Eugene said. “For example, wearing a white plain t-shirt: It’s not because it’s a hood style. It’s because it’s all they could afford.”

The failure to recognize certain aspects of outfits being cultural appropriation make it not cultural appreciation.”

— Danelle Eugene

While some seniors felt that it was time to replace the hip-hop theme, others had been looking forward to dressing as artists from their favorite music genre.

“A lot of people in my class look forward to hip-hop day,” dance senior Gabriella Angel said. “A lot of people enjoyed it and taking pictures, and it’s just a part of Spirit Week.”

While numerous students questioned if the costumes were racially insensitive, others thought that the day gave students a platform to dress as some of their favorite artists.

“As long as you’re not being openly racist, there’s no reason not to dress like people,” strings senior Hayley Huber said. “It’s just clothing.”

“[I would] probably [dress in] baggy jeans and a windbreaker—like a thick windbreaker—maybe a necklace or something, a flat-bill hat, and some tacky sunglasses,” Huber said.

Seniors who expected to dress as rap artists during Spirit Week are waiting to hear what the replacement to the hip-hop theme will be. A few have come up with suggestions for alternative music genres, such as Rock and Roll or R&B.

Ultimately, Dr. Atherley left the decision of the replacement theme in the hands of SGA.

“They’ve talked about popular music, and they’ve talked about favorite musicians,” Dr. Atherley said. “I don’t think they have decided yet.”

Although now missing the hip-hop theme, Spirit Week is still scheduled for late January, after students return to school from winter break.

“When people are offended or you’ve hurt people’s feelings, you do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Dr. Atherley said. “So, we all adjust and flex, and that’s what we do here at Dreyfoos so well.”