Kim Kardashian-West has been known to floss various looks that she borrowed from Black women, but it appears she taking the “borrowing” concept a little too far with her latest cover photos.
Of course fans and critics alike raised their brows and began commenting on the change, pointing out the obvious—that Kim was rocking Black face.
Although the majority of people in the Black delegation spotted the jig, there were a few that excused the continuous problematic behavior under the guise that she “always has a tan.”
However you want to flip it, Kim Kardashian-West was donning Black face and was rightfully dragged for it, so much so that her team issued a informal statement to Page Six stating that it was lighting that made the reality star appear to be a Black woman, not overt tanning or bronzing.
“It’s the lighting that makes her look darker in this specific image,” a source told the publication. “There are multiple covers and images from this shoot where the lighting looks more natural. People are so quick to find the negative in everything and also often forget that she is of Armenian descent.”
One thing in that statement is true, the Kardashian clan is of Armenian decent, a heritage that they proudly boast about, but one flaw in that theory is to think that just because they aren’t European they aren’t white—when that is the furthest from the truth. According to Quora:
“Armenians consider themselves to be of Middle Eastern descent, not a people of Europe. Culturally, linguistically, historically, and religiously, they identify more closely with other peoples of West Asia, primarily neighboring ethnicities in the Caucasus.” Translation, they’re considered white.
Ethnicity aside, one point has to be made clear, the Kardashians seemingly love to troll Black women with continuous cultural appropriation, whether it’s jacking our hair styles, natural features, or slang, the Kardashians have made their fortune off of the tears and anger of Black women.
If you don’t believe that the Kardashians are purposefully trolling Black women, look at their response to the Kimono wear controversy. Earlier this year, Kim Kardashian-West announced that she was launching her new shapewear line, at the time, named “Kimono” and attempted to have the name trademarked. After continuous dragging and the threat of a boycott by those of Japanese descent, Kim Kardashian and her team quickly issued an authentic apology and changed the name.
“I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture,” Ms. Kardashian-West said.
But when Black women called her out in 2018 for the “Bo Derek braids” incident, her response was a lot less cordial and a lot more tone deaf. During an interview with Bustle, Kim initially passive aggressively dismissed the backlash by blaming the style choice on her then 5-year old daughter North West who she claimed wanted “matching hairstyles.” But when it was pointed out that the style was seen worn by her sans North, Kim replied:
“I [do] remember the backlash when I had the blond hair and that I called them ‘Bo Derek braids.’ But I obviously know they’re called Fulani braids and I know the origin of where they came from and I’m totally respectful of that. I’m not tone deaf to where I don’t get it. I do get it.”
Making it apparent that her disrespect is not only understood but intentional, yet we continue to give her and her family a pass. Some Black fans have even excused the foolishness with the excuse of “Black women wear weaves and bleach their skin”; completely overlooking and forgetting that most Black women wear straighter styles to stay employed—see Gabriel Union’s latest fight. I also have to note that the skin bleaching epidemic was created by colonization and the worldwide marketed European standard of beauty that is still being pushed and taught.
The reality is, every time one of the Kardashians step on the toes of Black women for fun, we are reminded of their white privilege that they love to flex.
In a time when the cancel culture has dimmed the light of countless Black celebrities for far less, it’s time to finally do to the Kardashians what should have been done years ago—tune out.