First of all, I have to say that I really appreciate the fact how you guys are responding to the blog so far! I’ve been getting a lot of positve feedback from y’all since I’ve started blogging back in December last year and I must say that I enjoy the fact that with this blog you’ve helped me to establish a peaceful environment to express and discuss topics that I think matter to you creatively as well as socio-culturally.
Having said that, I really need to talk to you guys about this special topic that’s been making headlines these days and I’m so in the fence about this one and I guess you can say that I haven’t quite made up my mind about it yet, but still I feel the urge to adress it. So let’s get into it!
Kylie Jenner’s blackface controversy
I guess by now you’ve already heard about the Kylie Jenner black face controversy, so I’ll try to keep it short. And for those of you, who are not familiar with these headlines, here’s the story: The youngest one of the Kardashian clan, Kylie Jenner, posted a picture on instagram out of a photoshoot and it’s a portrait showing her face in a kind of alienesque and outlandish manner. And people on instagram, some celebrities and some media are giving the social media socialite a hard time accusing her of being racist. Take a look at this video!
Why do people call Kylie Jenner a racist?
That was pretty much my first thought when I caught wind of this story and I really mean it. But wait guys, so before you’re going to accuse me of anything I’m inviting you to follow my train of thoughts! First of all we need to clarify the term ‘racism’ so that we all know what that word even means. According to the Oxford dictionaries the term ‘racism’ stands for the following “Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” The defitinion continues “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”. So here’s my take on the story and this is why I think that Kylie Jenner’s instagram post didn’t come from a racist spirit:
1. Behind every professional photoshoot there’s a concept
As I explained in a previous post, every professional photoshoot is highly conceptual and thought through. Everything starts with an idea that comes from the production side. That can be an editor for a magazine who wants to go towards a certain direction, a photographer who got inspired by something or a creative director who wants to bring a vision to life. In this case, I highly doubt it that Kylie Jenner came up with this concept, but since she’s the model of this shoot and posted it on her instagram account she’s the easiest target for any kind of critisism. And that brings me to my second point.
2. Within every photoshoot there are usually more people involved
As I already mentioned in my first point, there’s at least a photographer and a model. Ususally there’re also a makeup artist, a hairstylist, a stylist and maybe some assistans on set helping out where help is needed. Further more it’s sometimes the case that the photographer doesn’t do the post production meaning the retouching himself, so this would make another person involved, the retoucher. And as Kylie explained later on her instagram account the photographer used some kind of black light and neon light, to get this kind of effect.
3. Kylie’s in a relationship with a black boyfriend
As far as I know Kylie Jenner’s boyfriend is the rapper Tyga who happens to be black. Again, I highgly doubt it that a racist, according to the definiton of Oxford dictionaries, would be in a loving relationship with somebody outside of their own skin color. And just in case you got curious who this Tyga guy is, here’s one of his music videos! Roll it!
4. Do we even see a ‘black’ cultural reference in this picture?
Yeah, I’m asking, is there any kind of ‘black’ or ‘african’ cultural reference in the first place? I mean this girl wears pink hair, blue contacts and has chrome, metallic and kind of glittery makeup all over her body. Of course, that’s not her real skin color, it’s freakin silver! But so aren’t her hair and her contact lenses! At the end of the day I think we all can agree on the fact that it’s a highly stylized photograph that shows a girl who normally doesn’t look like that at all!
5. Bullying an alleged bully doesn’t make you a better person
Calling out Kylie Jenner an alleged racist is also a very low click-baiting headline and the perfect opportunity for other celebrities to go on social media and weigh in with their opinion like Zendaya or Chris Brown’s girlfriend did. Calling out somebody something based on assumptions is always a bad idea!
Do we live in a racial hyper sensitive society?
So everything I’ve said so far brings me down to this question. In my opinion, it’s a quite twisted situation, because people who claim to make a stand against racism while attacking this Kylie Jenner and calling her out, reasoning their behaviour – or as I would call it hiding behind a fake agenda to make themselves more relevant – to point out social injustice, those are the real bullies ladies and gentlemen! And as I said before, maybe because I don’t know it any better, but I’ve come to the conclusion that you cannot call this girl a racist based on this picture and the instagram caption ‘I wish I could always look like that’!
Having said that, I do think that it’s important to call out racially insensitive people to make sure that some things that happened in the past won’t happen again and of course it’s important to emphasize that it’s not right to judge people by their skin complexion. But I also do sometimes think that we’re living in an oversensitive world where some people read way to much into things and will find racism in everything and anything. And as a result my fear is that by overstressing those kind of topics, people will get numb to real incidents of racism and discrimination. And no I won’t go into detail and look up a definiton of ‘real racism’ but I hope you still got my point! That’s all and thanks for reading!
So what’s your take on that story? I’d love to get to know your point of view and discuss it with you guys! Do you agree with me on that matter or did I get this totally wrong?