Of course, she totally missed the point.
White celebrities “pretending to be black” have become a moving target on social media.
The appropriation of black culture by white celebrities, particularly young female pop stars, has been a topic of discussion recently, with Iggy Azalea, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry all accused of it.
Now, professional… famous person Kylie Jenner, 17, has been called out by 16-year-old Amandla Stenberg, who plays Rue in The Hunger Games.
Jenner posted a mirror selfie – which for the uninitiated, is a picture of yourself looking at a picture of yourself on your phone screen, as reflected by a mirror (it’s really deep, you guys) wearing a crop top, low-slung tracksuit pants – and a headful of cornrows. She captioned it, “I woke up like disss.”
Beneath it, Stenberg commented, “when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter.”
She tagged in a friend, November Skyy Rivera, but it’s not clear why.
The remark has since been deleted, but Vibe has a screenshot of it.
Jenner responded in a predictably clueless way that suggests she missed Stenberg’s point entirely.
She replied, “Mad if I don’t. Mad if I do.. Go hang w Jaden or something,” referring to Jaden Smith, who was Stenberg’s prom date this year.
This writer has no idea what that means. Is Jaden not cool? If wearing Batman outfits to school proms isn’t cool, then I must be old (I am)! Didn’t Kylie and Jaden used to date? How did I know that? Is Kylie a woman scorned? Oh, I miss high school!
Anyway, it’s not the first time that Kylie Jenner, with her increasingly pumped-up lips, super fake tan and cornrows, has drawn criticism for trying on elements of black culture, and it’s not the first time Stenberg’s spoken up about cultural appropriation.
She made a video for a school project called Don’t Cash Crop my Cornrows, about the subject.
Watch it here. Post continues after video.
“Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves,” Stenberg says in the video.
“Hip hop stems from a black struggle, it stems from jazz and blues, styles of music African-Americans created to retain humanity in the face of adversity,” Stenberg said.
“On a smaller scale but in a similar vein, braids and cornrows are not merely stylistic. They’re necessary to keep black hair neat.”
Kylie Jenner, youngest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, is just as entrepreneurial as her mother and sisters, apparently.
Her new endeavour is a range of hair extensions with Bellami Hair, which describes Jenner as “the muse of a generation.”
OK, if you say so, Bellami Hair.
She’s heavily promoting her range, Kylie Hair Kouture, on her Instagram account, hence the misjudged cornrows.
The changing face of Kylie Jenner…
More on cultural appropriation and privileged white youth?