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Amandla Stenberg Calls Out Kylie Jenner’s Cornrows

Avatar • Jul 13, 2015

By now we are all very familiar with the Kardashian playbook; lift elements of black beauty and black culture, apply them and make a killing. Butt enhancements, lip fillers and heavy association with black entertainers and athletes are all part of the modus operandi. And while many black women either ignore the famous sisters or let out a heavy sigh and keep it moving when one of their antics hits the news, actress Amandla Stenberg decided she’d had enough.

Kylie Jenner recently posted a picture of herself on Instagram rocking cornrows with the caption “I woke up like disss”.

View this post on Instagram

I woke up like disss

A post shared by Kylie 🤍 (@kyliejenner) on

The picture was well-received by Kylie’s many millions of Instagram followers, but Amandla wasn’t having it and 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.”

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At which point we were like…

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Kylie, presumably feeling slighted, snapped back;

Mad if I don’t, Mad if I do…. Go hang w Jaden or something”

You will recall Jaden Smith accompanied Amandla to her prom and is a former boyfriend of Kylie’s.

But let’s dig into Amandla’s comments for a second…

In my opinion it is thoroughly unrealistic to expect the Kardashians to be socially aware or concerned. They are capitalism queens and masters of branding and will do whatever it takes to expand their influence and build their wealth. And that means associating with black culture for profit. I mean, it would be nice if they gave a damn but let’s all remember this…

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And this…

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And this…

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And this…

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Not to mention how petty they become when they feel they’ve been upstaged by a black woman;

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But Amandla makes a very potent point. For all the butt shots, the Timberlands, the cornrows, the faux locs, the slang, the black lovers and friends, the Kardashians are deathly silent when it comes to speaking up on civil rights or promoting it in some way. While other celebrities pay bail for Ferguson protestors, wear I Can’t Breath t‑shirts, use their influence to bring black narratives to the screen or call out public shaming of black women, the Kardashians are busy trying to milk as much press as they can out of 17-year-old Kylie’s creepy relationship with a highly mediocre 25-year-old rapper. I guess caring holistically about the black people they copy and associate with to promote their own interests is not part of their brand.

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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Olivia Nzeh
Olivia Nzeh
5 years ago

She spoke well. The Kardashians are business woman who use every opportunity whether good or bad to market themselves and make more money..They can never be role models to anyone..When the head is rotten, the whole body is rotten too..that’s the kardashians for you..messed up family..

Mel Mem Landy
Mel Mem Landy
5 years ago

And that my friend is misappropriation. Sad.

caty
caty
5 years ago

I follow Amandla & her friend of tumblr & when I tell you tumblr has been lit up since the whole situation. The Trashians will do what they want, I try not to look their way because I know I’m gonna get upset they are trash, every single one. They appropriate our culture then talk down on us. Also let’s not forget how salty Kim is because Beyonce will never like her, cmon Kim isn’t even on Beyonce level. Not because of how she got famous but because she’s appropriating our culture also because she’s trash lol sorry but I’m… Read more »

Lloyda
Lloyda
5 years ago

Any hair that can be cornrowed should be conrowed and celebrated regardless of race . To have an issue with that is beyond me.

Annette Jordan
Annette Jordan
5 years ago
Reply to  Lloyda

It’s the “I woke up like diss” dumb-ass comment that’s a problem. Proof that yes, she is appropriating “black” culture for her own gain. Now if she had said “I love this hairstyle”, it would be a different story. It’s really sad that people think of the incident as no big deal. The Kardashians are self serving boneheads.

$7275329
$7275329
5 years ago
Reply to  Lloyda

If you don’t agree about that aspect, that is fine but her comment was more than just being upset at Kylie cornrowing her hair. Did you read the whole post?

Pell
Pell
5 years ago
Reply to  $7275329

Can somebody explain to me why Amandla can tell ANYONE (regardless of ethnicity) what they SHOULD be supporting? My biggest issue with this quip is not the message. That’s fine. Its the fact that Amandla seems to be trying to REQUIRE or GUILT someone into supporting Black issues. Many Black people do not support Black issues, vocally; but no one is beating down their doors. Not to mention; who can qualify that? What is the criteria and how does anyone know if they have met these arbitrary guidelines for “using their platform”? I don’t like feeling like a hypocrite. I… Read more »

Kari
Kari
5 years ago

When I see the Kardashians in social media/appropriation action, I immediately wonder how, or if, they will ever be able to explain their actions to North? I’m sure that they will leave that up to Kanye.

Mahogany
Mahogany
5 years ago
Reply to  Kari

Be sure that in the future that this little girl will be reminded that she is black. Let’s see how Kim handles that then.

$7275329
$7275329
5 years ago
Reply to  Kari

I feel for that child, seriously. Kim and most of her family really creep me out, there’s just something so off about them.

Kay
Kay
5 years ago

What a stupid argument. Black people don’t own cornrows or dreadlocks. Anyone with hair can do whatever the hell they want with it. Aren’t we the same people who scorch our scalps with chemicals in order to ‘appropriate’ straight hair?

Morcey
Morcey
5 years ago
Reply to  Kay

Uuh, the history of black people straightening hair dates back to NEEDING to look like white people in order to be respected and get a job. To this day, you can be suspended from school or rejected from university or work for wearing natural hair. It is NOT the same thing as white people stealing the styles we have been shamed for wearing for centuries and reintroducing them as “edgy” and “trendy”.

Ty
Ty
5 years ago
Reply to  Kay

Well, non-black people who rock black hairstyles, especially dreadlocks tend to look disgusting, and you can hear stories from white people about how their “dreadlocks” grew mold… But anyway, white people don’t own straight hair either. Non-black people of color and even some black people have naturally straight hair. The thing is with black hairstyles is that it’s intended for afro textured hair, which most if not all non-black people do not have. Black hairstyles also tend to have cultural and historic significance. And you are making a false comparison and false equivalency. Black people are fired from our jobs… Read more »

Chi Star
Chi Star
5 years ago
Reply to  Kay

Thankyou!
Sometimes, I swear, people create racism where racism does not even exsist. I hate this “us” and “them” mentality.What is ‘black’ culture anyway? Does one’s colour of skin define their culture and also give them copyright on everything associated with that culture? By this logic, white people should be writing hate articles about black people straightening their hair.
The reason the Kardashians are famous is because people keep writing theese dumbass articles about every single thing they do. They make money by being the controversial people they are. The more we react, the more money they make. It’s that simple.

Elodie Careme
Elodie Careme
5 years ago
Reply to  Chi Star

I totally agree with you Chi. I find it very reducing to say Black culture as if it was some kind of unique and poor culture when you have various afro cultures in Africa, Brazil, Europe, Cuba, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Colombia etc. Every african diaspora has created or re-created something great and original to his environment. It is somehow perpetrating the stéréotypes to claim: cornrows is black and belong to us, twerking is black and belong to us, fried chicken is black etc. Really ? is that all we are ? We use the same predominant features that white people use… Read more »

Tabatha
Tabatha
5 years ago

I don’t even give those people my attention. They don’t pay attention to what they can and can not do in different cultures, or who they should be making mention of when they post it, so it at least what gave them the inspiration gets a shout out. There a waste to me. If the girl wants to cornrow then fine. They do that in Mexico when you are vacation it’s no big deal. Now if she tried to pass it off as if she was the founder of the hairstyle then I would be quick to call her on… Read more »

Annette Jordan
Annette Jordan
5 years ago

Good for Amandla and her verbal photo bomb! It’s disrespectful to think its ok to pick at a culture, adopt aspects for your own gain, profit from it, and then perpetuate stereotypes (“I woke up like diss”). WTF?? And there are people who don’t have a problem with this? Because the Kardashians are, for whatever reason, famous for doing everything humanly possible to look black and everyone pays attention to these highly unenlightened people, it is VERY necessary to point out their bullshit when it arises. So hats off to Amandla!

Raquel
Raquel
5 years ago

Ok, well if you don’t understand US culture, it’s probably because you’re not an American. Therefore, you have nothing to say on the subject. You can’t possibly understand what’s happened here in American history. You never had to deal with it and neither did your ancestors. So, have a seat and stick to discussions about things that happen in your culture. Thanks.

Cassa Blanca
Cassa Blanca
5 years ago
Reply to  Raquel

@elodie. Stop reaching. African culture was first, end of

Elodie Careme
Elodie Careme
5 years ago
Reply to  Raquel

Well…I may not be African American but I’m Caribbean therefore black. My island is still a French territory so my ancestors were slave and current people living in my island are still dealing with same issues you are. Now, I believe my comment was polite, your tone on the contrary is very rude and your words are offensive and harsh especially as if you read my comment, I’m asking for further explanation to understand the context showing open-mindness. If you are not interested to debate and discuss with people with different point of view or asking for informations that’s your… Read more »

OXxo
OXxo
5 years ago
Reply to  Elodie Careme

The issue is not the particular hair style it’s how the Kardashians consistently appropriate US Black culture for financial gain without supporting Black people in the States. This support doesn’t have to be financial but can even be just speaking out on political issues. Other famous people have gone out of their way to speak out, help out financially and/or help out in person. Just have a look at the links in the article. BTW I’m not based in the US either but I speak to people and read articles about how minorities are treated in other countries. So I’m… Read more »

Kari
Kari
5 years ago

Yes, I just read about this on Twitter and I was shocked! LC response was written as, “Ummmm, Bo Derek?”

maralondon
maralondon
5 years ago

You do realise that the black diaspora have African ancestry right? So it is no wonder that the food in the Caribbean is similar/same as traditional. West African food. It was never about burrowing. lastly, culture encompasses a whole lot of things and hair styles, food and music all play a huge part in our lives as black people.

Elodie Careme
Elodie Careme
5 years ago
Reply to  maralondon

Well if your properly read my comment I emphasize the fact that the current people living in Caribbean is a mix of different cultures, African of course but also Native-Indians, India, Europe and it shows in our music, clothes, gastronomy. Even if the African culture is predominant, we can deny the influence of others as we borrowed from them. For example, the most well-known dish in my island is called Colombo (like the main city in Sri Lanka), it is some sort of curry coming from the Tamul (India) population that came in the 19th century. It’s not denying the… Read more »

If you're reading you're ugly
If you're reading you're ugly
5 years ago
Reply to  Elodie Careme

Are you guadeloupean ? :DDD
It has been a long time since I ate Colombo

Alexis Foster
Alexis Foster
5 years ago

Hi sorry for late response, I’m still new to disqus. So I did some deeper research and it seems a fan NOT kylie posted the hashtag, that is my fault for jumping the gun after only reading a few articles. I’m going to try and dig through her comments/try to find the pic online and I’ll post it here ASAP.

PrimmestPlum
PrimmestPlum
5 years ago
Reply to  Alexis Foster

No problem! Thanks for clearing that up.

girlfriendgoddess
5 years ago
Reply to  Alexis Foster

It’s always at the fault of a “fan” when things go awry on these social media sites…hmmmmm?

Dee
Dee
5 years ago

Some of you ladies don’t understand the concept of cultural appropriation. It is not the idea that if it’s not original to you, you shouldn’t use it; I don’t think anyone is saying that white girls can’t wear braids. the issues is why is it “innovative” “cute” “inspiring” when white people do something that was originally (or most often) worn by black people but denoted as “ghetto” “classless” “unprofessional” on black people? That is the problem. Ex: The offensive Native American hair dress is considered appropriated when its mocked by americans as being “weird” and “inappropriate”, yet when KK show… Read more »

Dee
Dee
5 years ago

I commented on this earlier: “Some of you ladies don’t understand the concept of cultural appropriation. It is not the idea that if it’s not original to you, you shouldn’t use it; I don’t think anyone is saying that white girls can’t wear braids. the issues is why is it “innovative” “cute” “inspiring” when white people do something that was originally (or most often) worn by black people but denoted as “ghetto” “classless” “unprofessional” on black people? That is the problem. Ex: The offensive Native American hair dress is considered appropriated when its mocked by americans as being “weird” and… Read more »

Alexis Foster
Alexis Foster
5 years ago

Hi! Busy busy few days, as you can guess I could not find the original comment that made the statement. I’m guessing it was either reported or I didn’t look hard enough. (There were soooo many comments). The only proof now that I have is the fact that the articles online say a commenter made the comment. I’m sorry for keeping you. :/

danamay
danamay
5 years ago

OMG did you call Tyga “highly mediocre”??? LMBO! I almost died!

SerenityJ
SerenityJ
4 years ago
Reply to  danamay

But Tyga is mediocre LOLOLOL. He has taken so many L’s I’m still curious as to why he shows his face. XDD

Biss
Biss
4 years ago

In all these years I have lost many brain cells trying to understand what the Kardashians (and Jenners) do in the public eye and I concluded that the only way to stop losing brain cells is to stop focusing on them ( They act as if they live in another dimension anyway). All I do is stare at what they are wearing and move on to the next page.

Prima Donna
Prima Donna
4 years ago

This article read the Kardashians for filth ???

andrice
andrice
5 years ago

Great article. Crystal clear delivery! Thank you.

$7275329
$7275329
5 years ago

Of course the majority of people will completely miss this young lady’s point. Justin Bieber’s dumb ass was already there. Same one that had nothing to say about ongoing police brutality.

On top of that a grown ass man, Andy Cohen called her, I believe the Jackass of The Week on his show and 2 black individuals were there (Laverne Cox and Andre Leon Talley) and were just laughing along…like…really…

Elodie Careme
Elodie Careme
5 years ago

Maybe I don’t understand US culture enough but I don’t really see the matter with the picture and the comment…could someone explain me why everybody thinks the “I woke up like diss” refers to her hairstyle and not to her moody face? I don’t want to defend the Kardashian family but why can’t they rock cornrows ? And why does anybody who carry cornrow, braidboxes should advocate for the African American community ? Not every black man or woman (even celebrities) spoke publicly on the last racial events why should this family do it ? Besides, the Kardashians had clearly… Read more »

Alexis Foster
Alexis Foster
5 years ago

Guys, Kylie’s original caption included the hashtag #whitegirlsdoitbetter, (it was this trending nonsense on twitter some days ago) which was what had everyone up in arms. Then she changed it to the one that’s there now. No one cares about the cornrows, if that’s what you gathered from this, then you are missing the entire point. Amandla just wants her and other celebs who do have a lot of influence especially in black culture to acknowledge the injustices that occur.

PrimmestPlum
PrimmestPlum
5 years ago
Reply to  Alexis Foster

Do you have a screenshot of the post with the hashtag #whitegirsldoitbetter? This is the first I’m hearing of this. The post was bad enough, if she she used that hashtag then she knew exactly what she was doing.

Alexis Foster
Alexis Foster
5 years ago

My apologies, someone else on the photo stated the hashtag, not Kylie.

Stephine Griffith
Stephine Griffith
5 years ago

You cannot blame the Kardashians/Jenner entirely you have to blame the media for promoting features that are predominantly found in some women of African decent and are being seen as disgusting, trashy, looking like monkey etc but when white women have them or get them done surgically or by make up are being praised. That is culture appropriation. Since slavery Africans were told in order to be beautiful you have to be white now those same features that were overlooked are now being praised but with different women.Asia,Africa and latin America (Caribbean and SA) have the same problem. Not everything… Read more »

girlfriendgoddess
5 years ago

I agree with everything you said except one thing: EVERYTHING is racist. Ever looked into the “Isis Paper”? give it a read one day and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Yes, Kylie wore it ok, but she IS the media, she knows what she is doing and the power they have, which is why they exploit the hell out of it to get paid.

Elle P.
Elle P.
5 years ago

I try not to pay attention to the antics of the Kardashians. The person that called them the Trashians, lol, kudos that is funny! They are merely talentless, opportunistic, capitalistic attention whores.

GRACE KELLY HAS CLASS
GRACE KELLY HAS CLASS
5 years ago

#whitegirlsdoitbetter? … idunno? I got a flat arse … xx

girlfriendgoddess
5 years ago

You’re right, it’s not a part of their brand AT ALL…that is why I have NEVER seen an episode of any of these females’ franchises and don’t follow on any social media site. It’s possible to live without them. We as a black people have the strongest influential power regarding pop culture, and consumerism. If we stop buying, they will stop this crap. if we demand respect by holding out our might green, they will start giving respect. The Hispanic/Latino community hit Donald trump where it hurts, his pocket, so let’s start doing the same for crying out loud. Stop… Read more »

Igbobabe
Igbobabe
5 years ago

But then the elevation of Sternberg and other mixed women as the standard bearers of black beauty contributes to my erasure as a monoracial black woman.…

http://bglh-marketplace.com/2015/06/teen-vogue-put-on-blast-after-publishing-editorial-on-senegalese-twists-and-limiting-faces-of-color/

darklady
darklady
5 years ago

Oh my gosh how long she will make her ass like a watermelon? LOL
She has already stolen black cultural appropriation look her boobs,look her lips,look her hair,look her ass! This isn’t black beauty?

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