Source: Kylie Jenner Instagram
I probably have said it before but social media is a great place to get writing content. There is just something about the court of public opinion that pushes me into my inner social justice warrior form either crusading alongside them in agreeance, or fighting against them for the greater good of mankind. But something different happened this week when the topic of Kylie Jenner surfaced concerning the latest campaign she featured in for her ex-beau Travis Scott and Nike’s collaboration, it appeared that users were battling in views regarding the hairstyle she sported between it just being a style that is free for everyone to use, or if once again the black community had been ‘swagger jacked’ by a repeatedly offending culture vulture. I found it difficult to agree or completely disagree with the commenters who were a mix of people in a complete uproar as to why it is okay for characteristics that are widely discredited for black women when assigned to another race are supported or considered fashionable, and those who thought that females were having another groan about “just a plait” thinking is it really that deep?
I am a blogger, podcaster, and professional, but most importantly a black woman who is extremely proud of her heritage and over the 30 years I have been on this earth has been subject to hate for many reasons mainly that have been related to the physical attributes we naturally hone. Big lips, wide hips, darker skin, and nappy hair have consistently been reasons to cast us out of the limelight, deem us lesser than our racial opposites and consider us to be damn unpretty. So when I see another woman unlike myself representing the very things we are berated for and being worshipped over it definitely rises to the surface some unresolved feelings. When I first saw the melee I rolled my eyes at the thought of yet another pointless debate about a nonsensical concept that changes not a single person’s life, I mean how can an extra-long plait cause so much racial contention? But thinking deeper about the topic it made me realise that the outrage for the hairstyle exemplifies the years of never being good enough however we present ourselves.
A part of me feels slightly sorry for people like Kylie Jenner, as a Christian we are taught to forgive those who do not understand what the are doing and I truly believe that although her business and pop culture acumen are identified to be top tier. Her ability to understand race relations and the struggle of the black community is extremely lacking lustre, as a model which was her representation within this campaign she essentially is highly blameless. My pitchfork is aimed at Travis Scott who claims to be a member of our society but continues to stand for things that do not speak for who we are as a collective. This is a revolving door for our community from the Kanye West’s to the ASAP Rocky’s who break barriers by gaining fame within a highly selective industry and having a large platform but refuse to utilise it to better the idealogy of how we are viewed. In his defence with Kylie being the mother of his young child, this truly could have been a move to continue the pattern of generational wealth within his family, but I am yet to see choices made by himself that help perpetuate much more positive images of our livelihoods.
I think overall what this debate really ensued was unfortunately, the world is still within a place where black people remain uncredited or uplifted for their natural characteristics, innovation or intelligence. I believe that the only way to combat this issue is if we as the black community begin to come together and share our opportunities with our brothers and sisters if we keep waiting for big organisations to give us that big break it will never be the right amount of change that we want to see. I mean, how can we scream and shout at everyone else when our own people in positions of power refuse to represent us correctly?