Kendrick Lamar Versus Black Feminists: What is the REAL issue?
I have to admit that the whole black feminists against Kendrick Lamar debacle is getting a little tiresome. Tiresome because if anything, Kendrick has been rooting for us, his people since he first came out on the scene. It is clear that root of the problem isn’t the fact that Kendrick Lamar is dating a light skin bi-racial black woman, but the fact that there always have been and will be the underlined issue over successful black men dating and marrying women of fair skin.
On Thursday (March 30), Kendrick Lamar released his second single, “HUMBLE”, with a music video to match. A video that was widely praised all over twitter and even resulted with Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland posing a picture of herself at the beach, proudly showing her tiger stripes and quoting some of the lyrics of the song. Apparently, feminists, black feminists to be exact, didn’t take to kindly some of the lyrics in the second verse of the song. “I’m so fucking sick and tired of the Photoshop/Show me something natural like afro on Richard Pryor/Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks,” I really need to know what is wrong with that quote? When women complain about video models/ IG Models being praised and fawned after because of their big fake booties, always being shown in music videos, that was a problem. But here you have Kendrick Lamar who is speaking in favor of women who look like me, with stretch marks and cellulite on their booty, and wanting to see more of it and less of the manufactured bodies that is always shown, amd I need to know why that a problem?
Some women even want to label Kendrick as being problematic. Problematic isn’t the term that I would label him as, because I don’t see him contributing to a problem, as much as people are just projecting their problems onto him. One twitter user went as far as saying, “And that line in “HUMBLE” was harmful. Kendrick coulda and shoulda used his platform as a man to uplift even the women who get surgery.”
A contradiction that is well known among black feminists on Twitter and Facebook, whom constantly preach one thing, but say about another. Most of the time the arguments on twitter is about the praise and admiration of women who are surgically enhanced, how they are used more than often in music videos and how natural women are overlooked for these roles. Kendrick isn’t the first (or only) rapper to be dragged online for spitting some knowledge of women in their songs. J. Cole also has been called “Problematic” over lyrics concerning women. A Misogynist even. One of his most “problematic” songs so to speak is “No Role Modelz” off his “2014 Forest Hill Drive” album. I read a think piece on the song and of course while people are free to make their own assumptions about a meaning or message behind the song, this piece was just too far fetched for me to even comprehend. A lot of our favorite rappers rap about women in ways that may not be seen as respectful or even with dignity, and this is in no way a pardon on that. But for most of the time, the messages are simply metaphors of issues that are so much deeper than what meets the eye. When I was younger growing up, I remember always being told that it is not what you are called, but it is what you answer to. When you hear in the songs, women being addressed as “Bitches” or “hoes”, there is such an uproar over, while watching reality shows like “Love and Hip Hop”, “Basketball wives LA”, and even “Real Housewives of ATL”, when the term bitches and hoes are thrown upon one another as terms of endearment. Something that seems to be so accepted and overlooked by women who find these rappers “misogynistic”.
I am not even sure how the conversation when from Kendrick’s lyrics in his song to his fiancee and her being light skin. But it was quite amazing how quickly it went from him being problematic to it being an issue of Dark skin women versus Light skin women. I indulged in the debate a little bit online because I came across a few twitter users who believe that light skin women have a privilege that darker skin women don’t. As I spoke about freely on twitter, I have never had it easy as a light skin black girl growing up in a neighborhood of predominately Darker skin people. I was bullied, picked on, ignored and rejected by my peers simply because I was lighter skin. The message behind “HUMBLE” had nothing to do with this “idea” that lighter skin women are more superior or seen as more attractive than brown and dark skin women. Although this is what is being said online. It confuses me as a woman, that the uproar wouldn’t be over the fact that he used the word, “Bitch” 36 times, (I counted), but over the fact that he is promoting natural bodies, something that they are choosing to overlook because “Who is this man to tell us that he wants to see more natural bodies with stretch marks and less weaves, when he is dating a light skin black woman?” Yeah, that is just how silly it looks.
This isn’t to bash any women who has had surgery, hell I am considering a nip and tuck my damn self. This is about people looking for something to complain about when there isn’t anything to complain about. As women, strong independent women, why does it matter when a man says he prefers one thing over another? Why does it make women become twitter fingers when a black man says he prefers bigger butts over little butts, small boobs over bigger ones, a woman that wears weaves over women who chooses not to? We get so wrapped up in what society tells us to do and not do, that they have us believing that we are thinking for ourselves when we really aren’t. Women who sits online with blind rage over something that isn’t an issue because society tells us that as women we should not allow a man to dictate over us and tells us what we should and shouldn’t be doing, when in fact all the man said was… He likes you just the way you are. But the real question is, do you like yourself the way you are? Because if you like yourself and even love yourself as you are at this very moment, then why would a line like “Show me something natural like afro on Richard Pryor/Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks..” be a problem?