A White 17-year old girl got dragged on social media for coming to school dressed as Kodak Black. Silly? Yes. Racist? Not really.
News flash! White kids love rap music too. It can be argued that they buy the most music music, merch and concert tickets. Record labels develop intricate marketing schemes to sell it to them. Even some of your favorite rappers attempt to crossover on purpose just to appeal to them. So yeah, white kids are going to want to take part in the cultural phenomenon that is Hip-Hop.
Unfortunately, some of them do it wrong by doing dumb sh*t like dressing up in blackface for Halloween and frat parties or thinking that it’s cool to say “n*gga” citing “creative license.” Those individuals deserve the hell they catch.
But in the case of 17-year old Claire Kempe of Clearwater, Fla., the hell she’s catching may be a bit much.
Kempe’s favorite rapper is Kodak Black, which makes sense. Black is every other person in Florida’s favorite rapper right now. So, in the spirt of “Character Day” at her school, she decided to dress up as the currently incarcerated rapper.
When the image of Kempe began circulating online, knee jerk reactions accusing her of being racist followed.
Notice though, she isn’t wearing blackface. Granted “at least she isn’t wearing Blackface” may not sound like the best defense in a world where cultural appropriation is running rampant, but it is what it is.
However, some people still found something to be mad about. Everything from the styrofoam cup accessory to her Bantu knots came under intense scrutiny. Especially the Bantu knots.
The African hairstyle was all but exclusive to Black people until recently when white beauty bloggers started displaying the hairstyle and calling them “mini-buns.” Some of them even went as far as to say that European songwriter Bjork came up with the hairstyle. They are obviously wrong.
So imagine the sensitivity when a 17-year old White girl comes to school wearing the knots, and even admitting that she didn’t know what she had on her head.
“People kept saying it was racist. I had never even heard of bantu knots until today—I thought I was just doing Kodak’s hairstyle,” Kempe tells the Daily Dot.
At least she learned something new, we guess.
Anytime White people do anything outside of simply listen to rap music, they are always at risk of crossing some kind of line. Dressing like their favorite rappers will never be viewed as the same when their Black friends do it. Is that fair?
If kids like Kempe are influenced by the Kodak Black’s of the world, is that really a problem? Would you rather more of them be influenced by a suspected racist like Kid Rock?
Or is that perhaps the root of the perceived problem? That just like Rock, most Whites can participate in Hip-Hop and “act Black” but then leave it alone after they grow out of it, while the kids who are actually growing up like Kodak Black aren’t afforded that same opportunity.
Photo: Snapchat Screenshot