Black culture is dope. I know it. You know it. The Kardashians’ know it, too. It’s one thing to appreciate the culture and another to not only carelessly rape it for its idiosyncrasies and resources, but also not deposit back into the community.
We are in an extremely racially charged and pivotal point in America where 400 years of history is bubbling over. Celebrities, whether they acknowledge it or not, are at the forefront of possibilities for activism and speaking out against the systematic oppression of Black people. The Kardashians, for as much as they date (and even marry) us, rock cornrows, and use the influence of Black culture: they are not here for the Black cause.
The Kardashians, like America, have built their empire on the backs of Black people. The whole reason they are even famous is because of a Black person. Am I referencing OJ Simpson or Ray J? You can take your pick. Collectively, the Kardashian family, all 8 of them, are worth $340M dollars. When you add in Kanye Wests’ net worth, this powerful family is now worth almost half a billion dollars.
America loves blackness, until it’s on Black people. The Kardashians are illustrative proof. It’s interesting how ‘Black culture’ is so accepting when it’s not on Black people. In one Instagram post, the Kardashians can have everyone talking about how cornrows are the new trend. A trend? Black women have been rocking braids for centuries. The below is a photo of Bethany Veney, the author who wrote an autobiography on being a slave woman in 1889.
They profit off the fact that America does not ‘see’ Black women. Cosmopolitan was roasted by Black Twitter, for claiming that Kylie Jenner “debuted”, what they refer to as, “the ponytail of all ponytails.” Black girls: they are talking about a yaki braid. Even though the texture doesn’t match Jenners’ hair AT ALL, they are still raving. When Nicki Minaj debuted this SAME look (last season, I might add) at the Alexander Wang show, Cosmopolitan was silent.
Vogue applauded North West for “inspiring a generation of natural hair girls.” Say wha? Young, Black children have worn their hair natural for years. Interestingly enough, we applaud North West’s hair; however, the media constantly terrorizes Blue Ivy. When North West neglects to have her hair ‘tamed’ we deem it cute. When Blue Ivy does it, America is starting petitions. The photo of North West after birth was being auctioned for $3M. The favorability of “desirable Black hair’, particularly because it’s on a mixed child, is systematically creating self-esteem issues for kinkier hair. (Blue Ivy, your hair is perfect.)
The Kardashians cannot continually rape our culture and we not hold them accountable for speaking up. Yes, they have gotten rich off of Black culture, but have Black people rubber stamped their permission slips to do so?
Kylie Jenner launched a lip line and it sold out in minutes. Already, the recently turned 18-year old is worth over $5M dollars. The youngest of the clan, she has been under fire for altering her body to look more ‘more Black.’ She has admitted only to having her lips plumped, however, in the past year she debuted a shapely derriere and hips. No surprise, as her sisters, Khloe, and Kim, have done the same over the years.
Nevertheless, what Kylie is most known for is her ever-changing hairstyles. From Kanekalon to cornrows she loves looking like an around the way girl. Kim Kardashian and Khloe both love rocking cornrows as well. The images they sell are either high fashion or evoke black style. Kylie stays on her Instagram shouting out body positivity, writing indepth articles, but on MLK day, we get a picture and a hashtag. It’s time to use that platform.
With all this open love for black people and our culture, why have they been relatively silent during the revolution? How can they say nothing on their global platform, the same platform that they have received due to strategically inserting Black ‘cool’ into their empire? Kim Kardashian is paid $200K for one tweet.
When she famously tweeted, “#WhatHappenedToSandraBland,” the tweet was RT over 50K times and liked almost 70K times. In 140 characters, she introduced audiences that were not aware and forced the media to further discuss the issue. I applauded the reality TV star in this moment. However, she has a Black husband and Black children: I expect more. While North West and Saint West, as the children of two of the most famous parents in the world, might not have to deal with direct racism, there are a ton of Black and bi-racial people of color, that will. With fame comes responsibility. In the same way Kim Kardashian stepped up to the plate to squash the Wiz Khalifa and Kanye West beef, she needs to do so for Black Lives Matter. White activism towards the Civil Rights Movement is important.
What’s worse than the Kardashians not being woke, is the Black people that surround them. Shame on Kanye West, Tyga, and Lamar Odom for not opening the Kardashians’ eyes to their white privilege. I don’t want another Kim Kardashian selfie. I want to see her in Flint, Michigan. Yes, Khloe Kardashian, rock your braids, but can you give some love to the culture? You are married to us, yet you treat blackness like the side chick.
Blackness is pop culture. Blackness is what is popular. The problem with mainstream culture is that it’s never the actual culture that’s a vessel to create its popularity. This is one reason why Formation resonated with so many. Beyoncé, a Black woman, took a stand, to be Black, in front of America, no matter what people thought. I’m waiting for the Kardashians to make that stand, too. Kris Jenner: the revolution can be televised. Please but some of it on E!