How the Kardashians Built a Brand on the Backs of Perpetuating Artificial Blackness
In October Of 2007, Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall, Kylie, Rob, And The Olympic Athlete Formerly As Bruce, Catapulted Themselves Onto Our Television Screens With The Premier Of Their Network Reality Show, "Keeping Up With The Kardashians". Little Did We Know, once they arrived, They Would Never Go Away. Before The Show Aired, Most People Only Vaguely Remember Them From Being The Family Name Behind OJ Simpson’s Defense Attorney And Good Friend, The Late Robert Kardashian. But, Later On, We Got To Know their Daughter Kim On A Much More Personal Note, Via The Leak Of the Sex Tape she recorded With her Boyfriend at the time, Ray J. Since The Infamous Leak, And The Inaugural Episode Of The Show, They Have Developed A Notorious Platform For Themselves, and Eventually becoming loosely known as the “First Family Of Reality Television.” At First, It Was Entertaining, Because In The Beginning, They Were Building A Brand Based Upon Their Own Clear And Obvious Dysfunction, But Over Time, They Began Projecting That Dysfunction Into The Lives And Experiences Of everyday Urban Culture. Intentionally. The Kardashian Family, Who’s Roots Trace Back To A predominantly Armenian Heritage, have been walking the tightrope between rich privilege and street cred for quite some time now, attaching themselves to false narratives of blackness, and dipping their foot in and out of the pool whenever they feel like being “down”. Majority of the family maneuvers through life as if they can just throw the Kardashian name on anything they want, and market it as their own, even if it undermines entire communities of people. To start, most of the female siblings have chosen to oversexualize themselves in the image and likeness of black women. Meanwhile, these same Black women whom they imitate, are being condemned, for being oversexualized. Gotta love irony, right? The women who are ridiculed and nullified daily for their natural full lips, sexually harassed because of their big butts, and presumed to be unprofessional and ghetto because of their hairstyles, have been wiped out under the guise of the Kardashian culture, which puts a price tag on the appropriation of stolen characteristics. The Kardashian women have been glamorized and glorified, while holding themselves to a new standard of "american beauty", that gentrifies the fetishization of black bodies. From “Cornrows”, a classic, protective, natural Black hairdo, being revamped and misrepresented as “Kylie and Kim’s new trendsetting hairstyle : Boxer Braids”, right on down to Khloe referring to her and her sisters as “The Real KKK”, its starting to become not just an obvious pattern of appropriation, but redundant insensitivity. And their ignorance to the importance of historic cultural resources, and how to reference them responsibly, doesn’t stop at falsifying blackness, because almost everyone of them at some point has thrown themselves into the public eye with an obnoxious photograph wearing everything from blackface, to a native American headdress, or even a Niqab; which is a religious garb worn by many Muslim women, as part of their Hijab. And they don't wear these to promote social injustice, to them its either a fashion statement, or its a joke. For a while, younger sister Kendall Jenner had appeared to be living a somewhat low key lifestyle in comparison to the rest of her family, as she settled down and pivoted her career towards pursuing a serious interest in modeling and seemed to be distancing herself from the dysfunction and chaos of her fellow siblings. It was almost as if Kendall was one of the only ones left that had yet to be linked to a major controversy. That was until a couple of days ago, when Pepsi tried to use her as a commercialized catalyst for world peace 🙄. This of course, ended in an inevitable epic fail. The advertisement has since been pulled, after receiving a tidal wave of justified backlash, but incase you haven’t seen it, just picture Kendall Jenner preparing for a photo shoot, and notices a commotion outside....she takes off her pink wig, hands it to her two black female assistants, and proceeds to head outside.....she's maneuvering through a group of mock protesters, parting the crowd like Moses, as she heads to the front of the line to hand a police officer an ice cold Pepsi, and suddenly, everyone is cured of racism, prejudice, and all previous implicit bias. Yes, it looks just as ridiculous as it sounds. How many photos have we seen with Black women peacefully approaching police officers at protests, only to be greeted with stone cold faces and riot gear? Specifically speaking, Ieshia Evans in Baton Rouge, La just last summer.
How many pictures have we seen of little black children approaching opposing cops at peaceful demonstrations, handing them cold bottles of water, only to be overlooked and ignored as the officers try to remain “focused on the task at hand” …?? Yesterday, a young man named Carlos Enrique was at a town hall meeting where Oregon city councilman Ted Wheeler was taking questions from his constituents. Mr. Wheeler stated that he thinks the language of resistance hasn't been properly translated for this generation. When Mr. Enrique peacefully approached him with a Pepsi, he was met with anger, shouting, and then being escorted out of the building. But, suddenly, here we are once again, trying to be fed another imaginary scenario where a Kardashian shows up to save the day. After removing the ad, Pepsi goes on to apologize to Kendall for placing her in such an uncomfortable position, instead of apologizing to the underrepresented communities it offended. Kendall is a big girl, so im sure when she read the original script she knew exactly who’s shoes she was stepping into. And as an adult, she needs to be held just as accountable as Pepsi, for using her celebrity as an imaginary and playful pawn for social justice. The Kardashians have made it clear that Black lives only matter to them when it’s convenient, and even then, its only certain ones that make the cut. They attach themselves to the appropriation of Black hairstyles, Black culture, and even Black men, but are NOWHERE to be found on the front lines when it counts. Someone needs to stop giving them platforms that encourage them to keep perpetuating ideologies and images that aren’t theirs. Someone needs to tell them that Trayvon Martin was killed for wearing a hoodie and carrying a can of Arizona Tea, so most likely, a Pepsi wouldn’t have saved his life. And most importantly, someone needs to tell them that the revolution won’t be commercialized.
Now go put some clothes on girl, your privilege is showing.