Is Amandla Stenberg the next young, Black activist in town?
Earlier this year, the Hunger Games star schooled everyone on the unfortunate reality of cultural appropriation, but it appears that one celebrity in specific, Kylie Jenner, didn’t get the memo and needed a little extra coaching.
On Saturday, Jenner posted a picture via Instagram, featuring her hair braided into cornrows. “I woke up like disss.” read the caption. And while most assumed the reality star was letting her scalp breathe after promoting her wig line earlier in the week, Stenberg believed the image sent a different message…
“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,” Stenberg wrote beneath the image which has since amassed more than 1 million likes, according to screenshots that were captured and shared online. (In the comment, Stenberg tagged Instagram user @novemberskyys, though it’s unclear why she did so. Stenberg’s publicist was not immediately available to clarify the context of the remark.)
“The Keeping Up With The Kardashians” star however brushed off Stenberg’s criticism in a way that suggests she missed the point… entirely. “Mad if I don’t. Mad if I do.. Go hang w Jaden or something,” Jenner reportedly wrote back, referring to Jaden Smith, who you may recall attended prom with Stenberg in May.
This isn’t the first time the teen has been criticized for appropriating black culture to her benefit. Earlier this year, Jenner was accused of wearing blackface in an Instagram photo she posted. In the image, Jenner was featured posing with much darker skin than usual above a caption that read, “What I wish I looked like all the time thank you.”
Amid backlash, Jenner promptly deleted the snap altogether, only to upload another one from the same photo shoot soon after. “This is a black light and neon lights people lets all calm down,” Jenner wrote.
In April, Stenberg reminded us all about cultural appropriation and what happens when white celebrities adopt blackness but fall short on explaining the dangers that come with identifying as Black.
“Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves,” she said in a video entitled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows.”
She added… “What would America be like if we loved Black people as much as we love black culture?”