Kylie Jenner and the ‘Copyright Infringement’ of the Black Woman

By Frenshea Love

I ain’t gone lie, when I first saw Kylie Jenner’s latest picture I was like, okkayy Beyonce.’  It wasn’t until I jumped deep into the comment section that I realized it was not Queen Bey. It was Kylie Jenner parading in her likeness.  

Maceo Cassell on Facebook,”If Copyright Infringement was a person.”

Besides my usual distaste for the Kardashian clan, the picture further disturbed me. On Facebook, Maceo Cassell responded to Kylie’s picture with this collage and wrote, “If copyright infringement was a person.” Beneath the layer of comedy, Cassell’s remark illustrates the assault against Black women’s bodies. Society, particularly mainstream culture, loves every physical aspect of the Black woman. Society loves her hips, her bronzed skin, her fat ass, her juicy lips, the versatility of her hair- everything but her, her voice and the issues she faces.

Like the fact that more than 64,000 Black women are missing has garnered no national, media attention.

The Black woman’s body and her aesthetics have become a commodity to be picked apart, sold and damn near put on a shelf. Don’t believe me? Just take Kim Kardashian’s latest product for example. She’s selling a fake ass for $450. Yes, a fake ass. How you gone sell a fake ass that was never yoursss?

This type of commodification of the Black woman’s body not only objectifies her as a tool to be used and discarded but is an utter assault on her agency and existence.   

You ain’t gone sit here and tell me that Kylie Jenner didn’t transform into a light skin Black woman! Some may find this hard to see, because society loves racial ambiguity. Society loves it because it implies Blackness without ever accepting it. Racial ambiguity is the diversity, inclusion and racial sensitivity that we point to without ever having to face. It gives us the colorless society that strips out the difference in “other” and praises the silencing in “melting pot.”  Somebody play a muh fuckin’ church cord!

For the life of me, I can’t understand how any Black woman on the face of this earth could ever idolize a Kardashian. I just can’t. These women have bathed in Black culture and Black women’s aesthetics, affording the privileges that Black women could not receive in their own and for their own bodies. The Kardashian women have built a life imitating the very physicality and sexuality used to wrongfully justify the abuse and assault of Black women. I could never in my damn life create a sex tape, profit off that sex tape and then be idolized as a “respectable” career woman by society.  These women have risen to fame parading in Black girl magic while enduring none of a black girl’s blues.

These women have intentionally dated only Black men for material, cultural and social wealth. These women have stolen, repackaged and profited off the likeness and image of the Black woman. I meannn, Kim Kardashian got ya’ll out here calling “Dookey braids” box braids. And only when she wore the style, did society embrace it as “appropriate” for the workplace.

It must be a fucking privilege to able to wear Blackness and to transform into every physical aspect the Black woman is envied for while still walking through the world acknowledged as a “superior” white woman.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams is criticized for wearing a fucking catsuit. And don’t get me started on how it took y’all too long to acknowledge that Serena Willams’ big calves, fat ass, big arms and dark skin were beautiful. I know this, because y’all spent years using her name as a weapon to assault me and other Black women who resembled her physicality.

I am angry, because in my everyday experience I have to worry about the language that my body reads, while Kylie Jenner is able to consume it. I am angry because I HAVE TO worry if my skirt rides my hips a little too tight. I am angry because I HAVE TO, even as I resist, engage in respectable image politics to be taken seriously in the workplace! I am angry because when I go to the hair store, I spend hours staring at blonde braiding hair, only to tell myself no. I’m angry because I CAN’T fuck who I want without being devalued and discarded by society. I am angry because I don’t get to be a free ass Black woman, but with $100,000 Kylie can transform into one!

Kylie can buy hips, new lips, an ass. Kylie can wear long, colored braids. Kylie can fuck as many Black men as she pleases and still be adored by them. Kylie, a white girl, can be the Black girl that society condemns Megan The Stallion, Trina, Lil Kim and Nikki Minaj for actually being.

Because let’s be honest, the only reason most of y’all ain’t kicking up a storm about Megan and the likes is because we won’t let you! We won’t let you assault and smear your respectability politics onto them. But even with all our fight, you still adopt the dichotomy of the sexual liberated white girl versus the nasty Black girl.

This cultural “copyright infringement,” as Cassell pointed out, works to de-prioritize Black women in everyday life, rendering them no significant social space.

Society loves everything about the Black woman, except her, and I’m muh’fuckin’ tired!

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