Kim Kardashian’s activism is performative

Illustration by Lilly Cook.

Aja Moore, Contributing Writer

Kim Kardashian has slicked down her edges in ways similar to black women and wears box braids periodically. But her mixed children, the oldest being North West, keep it pretty simple with either natural curls or flat-ironed hair.

Now, I get it. Hairstyles seem universal — right? No, they’re actually not, Kim. Cultural appropriation is real, and just because you’re married to a black man and have half-black kids does not mean you are excused from it. The ignorance behind Kardashian rocking black-girl hairstyles while her half-black daughter doesn’t is a problem for me.  

In addition to her controversial hairstyles, Kardashian has also taken a jump by becoming very involved with social issues, such as gun violence and the mass incarceration of African-Americans. While these are important issues, her advocacy work doesn’t seem genuine.

I don’t feel as though Kardashian has malice toward black people, but I don’t think her activism is coming from an authentic place of concern. She took an opportunity to improve the life of Alice Johnson, a now 63-year-old black woman, who was arrested in 1966 for involvement in a drug-trafficking case. After being sentenced to death, Johnson was later given life in prison.

As a first-time offender, Johnson is one of many who deserved a second chance against the criminal justice system. This seemed like a genuine and meaningful act — but it turned out to be the “touching finale” of season 15 of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Kardashian posted heavily about Johnson only during the season up until the finale. Since then, she has said nothing.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqgVzOsHnPU/

Her husband Kanye West, who is from Chicago, has been a prominent figure for the black community since his initial rise to fame. In the recent season of the family’s series, which highlights a few of Kanye’s recent controversial remarks and actions, it feels like Kardashian is trying to step up her game at addressing serious problems.

It’s difficult, however, considering the rapper’s recent Twitter wars with himself and love for Donald Trump. The current political climate is tough for black people. Kanye’s spiral seems to have catapulted Kardashian into a “save-the-day” position. When Kardashian feeds into West’s passions of helping the black community and explains how West means well in season 15, it makes Kardashian seem like the hero the black community needs. And it’s all content featured on that same dramatic season finale.

The Kardashian-Jenner family experiences a lot of hate on a daily basis, and many of the issues are irrelevant. I do not want to be another “hater,” but this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Kardashian needs to know the line between helping the black community and trying too hard to fit into the black community while doing so.

With the appropriation of black hairstyles and cosmetic surgeries she has allegedly done to enhance certain characteristics — including her lips, butt and hips — that mimic black features, Kardashian needs to stop trying so hard to mimic black women because it’s offensive. The Kardashians are of Armenian descent and celebrate that often, especially in memory of their father. Having heritage that she does seem to be in touch with, I suggest she fully embrace that instead of black culture. 

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Hi, can I get zero fucks please, thanks

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