Keeping Up with (Black) Reality: Kardashians, Kolorism, and Kultural Appropriation
As said by everyone in Black Twitter at some point and time, “Everyone wants to be Black until it’s time to be Black”
Kardashian-Jenners and backlash have gone hand in hand since their first introduction to the world on a small show that would later be the helm and flagship of a network; and in the past rightfully so.
We’ve had Khloe post a meme referring to her and her sisters as the only KKK that lets Black men in; strike one. The sisters were seen on their phones during a moment of silence for Michael Brown on live TV; strike two. We’ve seen Kylie brush off and tell a younger Amandla Stenberg to go hang out with Jaden Smith when she discussed the seriousness of cultural appropriation; strike three.
Just a week ago Kim said she cries about having a big butt as if women haven’t been suffering from bunched up fabric and large gaps around the waist of jeans, the result of going up a size or two up to make sure it fits properly on thighs and round derrières.
Let’s not forget about Kendall and Kylie’s “entrepreneurship,” which took the form of an overpriced merchandise line with their photos and names overlaid on the images of Hip Hop icons Tupac and Biggie.
The Kardashian-Jenners and backlash have gone hand in hand like salt and pepper, part of my disdain for them and why I’ve ignored any news in regard to them.
If someone told me I would become a Kardashian-Jenner advocate, I would’ve never believed it. The change of heart that has turned me into the former stems from a recent photo with three of the newer members of the family . A photo of Chicago, True, and Stormi was posted on Instagram and the negative comments shortly followed. If the negative statements were toward their parents or grandmother/manager/matriarch/ringer leader of the crew, I would’ve cared less. But this time was different.
Statements of True being the ugly one of the group became a common theme within the comments pointing out her darker skin tone was the basis of these statements. Yup, she was called ugly and not as cute as her squad because of her skintone. As a darkskin Black woman, I had to put my distaste for them aside as I couldn’t ignore the ignorance and hatred directed toward a child; a Black child at that.
If I would fight against people making cruel statements about Blue Ivy, I would be a hypocrite to not defend another Black child.
Colorism is not a new concept, rather something Black and Latin X women deal with on a daily basis. You’re too dark, you’re too light, you’re pretty for a [something ignorant af because of your ethnicity], and you don’t look XYZ cause of your complexion are words we’ve heard all before and then some.
Women of color highlight colorism all the time and are brushed off by the masses or thrown a bullshit bone similar to companies’ lackluster diversity quotas; they throw one of us in to shut us up and make us happy.
But with these negative comments being hurled at America’s reality TV royalty, and one of the heirs to the Kardashian throne, this could be the opportunity to open the eyes of mainstream America, the Kardashian-Jenners’ large following, and last but not least the eyes of the Kardashians themselves.
True’s colorism comments isn’t the first “time to wake up” moment the sisters have experienced, yet they still come off of disconnected and unfazed when it comes to the plight of Black culture proven through their oblivious demeanors and nonchalant attitudes.
Years ago, Kim had a Black experience when North, who was only a baby at the time, was verbally attacked by a woman hurling racial slurs on a plane. Wake up call maybe? Not quite. Years later she would go on to rock cornrows, refer to them as Bo Derek braids, and have no remorse when women of color voiced their frustration with the cultural appropriation and lack of credit Black culture receives when it comes to the trends of mainstream consumption.
The Kardashian-Jenners have done a great job exploiting Black culture, so it was only a matter of time until they would have to deal with the harsh realities, unglamorous aspects of the Black experience; although it sucks that an innocent child had to be on the receiving end of it.
Let’s see if they’ll continue to be as oblivious to their harmful ways when their only allies, willing to get on the front line and fight for their children, are Black women.