Kendrick Lamar and the Erasure of Black Women

Kendrick Lamar is my favorite New School rapper. His lyrical prowess alongside his masterful production, is an honorable change to the predictable pop-tainted “bars” that defines mainstream hip hop today. But recently, the man who I thought to be a creative revolutionary, is causing me Black feminist angst.

There was the sidestep to respectability politics when, in an interview with Billboard, he blamed Mike Brown for his own death. The fact that he expressed such views to Billboard — a platform known to explicitly cater to white audiences — was problematic; sidelining the transcendent lyrical technician to the confines of a Good Negro.

People also took issue with his defense of Iggy Azalea, a woman known for her racial insensitivity and cultural appropriation. In the same interview, he remarked:

“Do your thing, continue to rock it, because obviously God wants you here.”

His words sparked an awkward three-way Twitter joust between Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi, and Azealia Banks; a feud I paid little attention to because Kendrick wasn’t a part. Instead, I honed in on Kendrick’s words themselves. As a man who’s extremely conscious and intentional in his thoughts and the language he uses to express them, I was both curious and frustrated with his lack of nuance or philosophical depth such loaded words required.

He did not comment on the ways in which Iggy Azalea’s inclusion in rap music is smeared with white privilege, nor how Black male rap moguls like T.I. and Snoop Dogg made extremely profitable careers off misogynoir towards Black women, but cape for Iggy Azalea without a second thought.

Kendrick stayed quiet about how malicious it is to the People and the Culture to see a whack rapper lauded as one of the best female hip hop artists just because she’s white. He should know. He got snubbed in favor of Macklemore at last year’s Grammys after all.

He insulted my race and my gender, but I kept it moving. I still loved him, and impatiently awaited his next album. I embraced “i,” the debut statement which captured the spirit of Black self esteem and authentic Black culture. And the cameo of Ronald Isley, whose “That Lady” was expertly sampled, solidly bridged the generational gap between Black music of then and now.

And then there’s “The Blacker the Berry,” another statement that aroused my pro-Black consciousness. With emotive lyrics, striking imagery, and an excerpt from the famous Malcolm X speech, Kendrick’s statement on Black self-hate was an ingeniously woven tragedy.

Today, Kendrick announced the title and cover art of his fourth album, To Pimp a Butterfly, due to hit shelves March 23rd.

kendrick lamar cover art

Clearly, the cover is contentious for many reasons. A rough depiction of an American government overthrow; a Black revolution ensconced by the caricatures of thugs and gangstas. Obviously, this provocative artistic portrayal of Black Liberation needs a lyrical backdrop for holistic understanding.

Surrounded by an arguably mongrelized representation of Black males is, what appears, a blonde-haired white female toddler–a subtle nod to the deeply rooted trope of sexually aggressive Black men in relation to white female purity.

And next to that toddler appears a Black woman whose face is hidden by stacks of cash. There’s also a Black woman peeking above the man holding the toddler’s shoulder.

kendrick lamar cover art

Is Kendrick suggesting that Black women are only visible when there’s a literal proximity to whiteness? Is he suggesting that Black women are literally hidden by profit? Or that Black women are best placed behind a Black man? Who knows.

But through this artwork, it’s strikingly clear that Black Liberation comes when Black men bare it all and sacrifice themselves on the front lines. Black women aren’t leaders, we’re objects whose value is dependent upon where we’re placed.

Maybe I’m being too analytical. But Kendrick Lamar has shown time and time again that he’s extremely intentional in his creative maneuvering; that his craftsmanship is intricately and deliberately designed to tell complex stories stemming from a personal pro-Black ideology.

Kendrick Lamar’s dismissal of Black women is further seen in the latest Rolling Stone cover where a woman who appears either white or racially ambiguous, is braiding his hair.

A white-ish woman. On a white-centered magazine. Braiding the hair of a revolutionary Black man. Sigh.

I still love Kendrick Lamar, and will be one of the first to purchase his album when it drops. But are we — Black women — his Sherane; beings who, in times, of ignorance are sexual temptresses but in times of ascension, antagonists? I do not believe Kendrick Lamar hates Black women. But I do think he’s had experiences that’s sullied his understanding of us, and this miscomprehension plays out in his creative endeavors.

*Featured Image Credit: www.blkdmnds.com.

photo 1Arielle Newton, Founder/Editor-in-Chief. Get at me @arielle_newton. Get at us @BlkMillennials.

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37 responses to “Kendrick Lamar and the Erasure of Black Women

  1. yeah…watch out, you “racially ambiguous” people. (And maybe you sexually ambigous people, too?) Cause only pure and unambiguous gets in here.
    Yeah Arielle, it’s me again.
    Finding you as linguistically pretentious (I know, you think it’s “deep” but no way, it’s pretentious) as ever.
    “Obviously, this provocative artistic portrayal of Black Liberation needs a lyrical backdrop for holistic understanding.” Say what? What does this sentence mean? And as for this: “Surrounded by an arguably mongrelized representation of Black males.” Wow. Good thing I didn’t write that, you’d be calling me racist and hateful and all the other stock crap lines you throw out when someone disagrees with your Party Line. So, what, you object to brothers (wait…can I say that?) standing around with shirts off? It is D.C, maybe it was Summer; you know how hot it can get there in August (you’ve been to D.C., right? You’ve lived without air conditioning in the summer at some point, right?)
    So my interpretation of the scene, admittedly less creative than yours and certainly lacking your incendiary flourishes: see the White baby (pretty cute, you gotta admit) with all the Black men surrounding. And the baby, well, she looks pretty comfortable. The implication being that maybe we can get past racism only when all our babies are raised in an atmosphere where they see people of all colors around them…smiling, laughing, nurturing. Wow, hey, that might work.
    I don’t know what the money trip is or the Black women being partially hidden, or the dude on his side with x’s on his eyes.
    I just get a feeling of obviousness from my interpretation, my gut response.
    People don’t reason themselves either into or out of bigotry/prejudice. The comfort of acceptance and love and things you may consider trite-liberalism (or from what I’ve seen on your blog here that you consider possible only between like-colored people) is the answer. Marvin Gaye: “For only love can conquer hate.” I know, before your time. And a lot of White people listened to him, which can never be a good thing.
    I have to hope that fewer people than you think are buying in to your Party Line. And that you wake up one day to be able to say: “We are, after all, all in this together.”

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      • I do what i like, when I like. I find your pretensions annoying. So every once in a while, expect a swat. You’re an adult, right, so you can take it. And see, we agree on Marvin Gaye. Score one for peace love and understanding.

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      • doc bobby k… The way you use your words implies no doesn’t mean no, to you and you believe you are entitled to push yourself on a woman. Your degrading “swat” implying she is a “child” in fact and not an adult is equally disturbing. She’s not that into you, fella. You want her to love you… to include you… and you chase her with insults taking out your issues of rejection on her. It’s a rape culture and very white supremacist of you.

        Thinking younger people don’t know the music of yesteryear is presumptuous as well.

        Your opinions don’t matter here, TROLL.

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  2. Interesting read! I will say though that I think you misinterpreted his statement in the Billboard interview. He said that Mike Brown’s death should never have happened the way it did, but that the violent reaction to it from the Black community (looting, rioting, etc.) is just as harmful to our progression as the way the police treat us.
    “…when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”
    I didn’t interpret his statement as him blaming Mike Brown for his own death; he seemed to be saying (at least to me) that we should proceed with caution regarding how we react to injustice because responding violently just ends up confirming to the majority that we’re as inhuman as they claim we are.

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    • I agree with your interpretation of his comments, and as well of his message. While Black Lives Matter, ALL life also matters. Violence has been, and never will be, “the” answer.

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  3. Yes! Yes! Yes! Everything about this article is on point. I still love Kendrick. But every now and then he says or does something that makes me think “Really Kendrick? Really?” especially that respectability politics ish. I was pissed. But he’s like the best we’ve got right now. I just need him to do better. Just a teensy bit.

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  4. Really great article Arielle! Love your writing! I’m not that informed on the Michael Brown issue on Ferguson only what I’ve seen and read all the way I’m South Africa, nor am I too informed on what he said on Iggy. I will comment on your interpretations of his album cover and his Rolling Stone Cover. Whenever one takes a photograph, yes it is good practice to have a concept in mind or try to bring across and idea. I don’t believe Kendrick explicitly placed women in those positions in order to convey what you mention. I believe you might be giving him too much credit there, although I find the interpretation interesting! The one I disagree with most is the Rolling Stone cover comment. “A whitish woman…” I think that comment is a bit seeking, and unnecessary. Yes its a mainly white magazine, but perhaps the are trying yo create contrast or soften the image. To attack the skin colour of the woman in the image is, I believe, working backwards to what your writing ls try to achieve, which is black consciousness yeah? I don’t believe it matters much how black the girl is, picking on her tone instead of what she’s doing or maybe wearing is counter productive.

    I really enjoy the article though, mostly because its stirring! Kendrick is also one of my favourite lyricists right now. I wrote and designed posters a while ago that included Kendrick Lamar. You might like them. http://10and5.com/2015/02/18/the-rap-lyricists-posters-an-ode-to-hip-hop-by-mark-modimola/

    Keep up the content and conscious. MM

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  5. I heard Kendrick Lamar song “Swimming Pools” on the Saints Row 4 soundtrack. He’s pretty good, no doubt about that, but if he wants to get fully known as a Black Rapper he should embrace his culture, his beliefs otherwise it seems that Black rappers these days want to get their 15 minutes of fame by saying every stupid word supporting white people while denigrating theirs. And the worst part of it is that Black people still support them. If an artist do something that offends the people he’s trying to reach, I don’t expect to buy his next album or support him/her for that mater.

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    • >” but if he wants to get fully known as a Black Rapper he should embrace his culture”…

      What exactly does this mean? African American/Black American Culture is incredibly diverse, and each region of the country has a history all of its own…

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  6. Arielle,

    This is a groundbreaking piece, as is much of your work on here. If possible, I’d like to chat sometime about the way you’ve put together Black Millenials; I want to do something similar in the future, but I know I’m not quite ready yet.

    In Solidarity,

    Jimmy “JIMBO” Recinos

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  7. the woman on the rolling stone cover has been identified as Kendrick’s girlfriend.

    She’s a light skinned black woman.

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    • still not good enough. The positioning and the lightening make one think that the woman is a white woman. This was done on purpose. Nobody is going to dig up her past like you. ppl are going to take it at face value.

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      • she’s a very light skinned woman that is almost the complexion of a white person, there is little you can do with lighting to make her darker.

        and that whole picture has very harsh lighting, kendrick himself looks a whole lot lighter than usual.

        and how does the positing make her look like a white woman?

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  8. He doesn’t read books, he’s down with Taylor Swift being his BFF and he’s an end-timer? There’s no way he can be a revolutionary artist… then… I’m so entirely bummed out.

    This was truly enlightening post for so many reasons.

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    • By Ma’am…Am I the one you mean Deena? Not sure what you mean if you’re talking to me. My actual comment box didn’t receive your message, so if you mean me, I unapologetically love Kendrick Lamar and I wanna buy his music. I’m not sure why that’s something you think I shouldn’t do. Being that the evangelicals like Jimmy Swaggert ruined Jamaica in the 80’s and 90’s regarding spreading hate and homophobia on such a level that it actually shifted there once open culture to one that kills more gay people than anywhere else on the planet, causes me to suspect this white-man’s brainwashed religion doesn’t belong in Kendricks mind or hanging around his neck like a noose. His music on the blacker the berry impressed me not just because I adore Malcolm X but because within the context of his lines he talks about becoming a killer of his own brother because he’s against rape (that’s a terrible paraphrasing, I realize) but I appreciate his respect of females and his suffering over the divide…that’s why I’m bummed to hear from the linked article that he isn’t reading books, is focused on the end times and he’s ok with Taylor Swift probably because her music is a natural indication of a zombie apocalypse. But hey to each is own.

      I took time to observe the things the author was talking about and that I’d missed. But I like satire and heavy art so I was thinking he was showing what the feared imagery of the black man in the white house is, not to glorify it, or to degrade but to speak to the way culture views things in a racist lens and thereby challenge that view, but I’m not saying I’m right.

      My self respect is always in tact. Thanks for asking.

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  9. @ katherinejlegry: Actually Ms Whatever the “swat” reference was to imply something annoying. Just a metaphorical annoying. You know what a metaphor is right? I wonder becasue you play the same tracks ezch time. You claim to know what is in other people’s minds, but it isn’t clear there is anything actually going on grey matter wise in yours. I’m a critical thinker, which you are not. Critical thinking isn’t rape. And the only demand it makes is for logic and reason to be expressed. But since you and your friends here or whatever they are to you insist on making inane statements and pretend to hipness and pretend to be revolutionaries, really it demands a response. The last thread i showed up at here drew a good deal of critical investment by people who found the underlying theme of Ms Arielle to be insulting, demeaning, and in terms of movement value, worse than worthless. Back in the ’60’s i asked junkies to tone down their “revolutionary” rhetoric because they were bad PR for the movement’s goals. So listen to you now talking about how skin tone comparisons are to be somehow rated for proving value. This is some sick stuff. I’ll be here til you disappear. If that’s rape, report it. But it’s you and Ms Arielle who are doing the raping and pillaging of Dr King and the movement and all those who pushed for change and some kind of unification of purpose.

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    • Hi Doc booby K… Katherine isn’t speaking to the actual article at all, she didn’t mention whether she agreed with any of it…

      she’s speaking to the way you assert your self onto the author and how entitled you say you are to do what you want whenever you want. If you’d like the classic list of what an abusive person who behaves the way you do is I can provide it. Often time an abusive male will seek out a powerful or assertive woman to fight with so her can “justify” his abuse.

      Now, if the author was going to your blog and bothering you or engaging in a conversation in your domain it’d be normal for you to speak your point of view with such vehement conviction to the point of exhaustion and still no results… That’d make sense because it’s the world that revolves around you. And certainly it should. It’s your space.

      The author doesn’t block you and she could… so you’re only outing yourself as a rape culture red flag troll and there is no hip revolution about that.

      Katherine isn’t raping people. And I resent you putting that on her. That’s another classic use of spin that a predator will try to use on victims of rape to crowd them out and shut them up. The author isn’t raping anyone and I’m not saying she’s a rape victim. But you’re trying to mind fuck her and silence her…

      If it hurts you to hear this stuff, maybe you should consider taking care of your peace of mind and stop throwing yourself into the fire. Because what you are doing is proving her right about white men and white people. You’re not teaching what Dr. King did just by demanding it. Your love and unity isn’t heartfelt with you screaming at her that she’s pretentious.

      But be a BOOBY and not a Bobby then. It’s on you and not Katherine and not the author.

      I hope Katherine doesn’t bother responding to you… because you do not deserve the time of day from her.

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    • Doc Bobby K… Well, T’is true you are critical. Thinking might be your problem. You do realize that thinking is just thinking, right? It’s not reality. I recommend you do some zazzen and clear the thinking out. Just be aware of the thought and label them as they come up for you. Identify the tension in your body. Don’t judge it, just be aware of it. You might encounter a lot of chatter and find no thinking exceedingly difficult. But don’t be discouraged. Sit for as long as possible quietly and just do the best you can.

      I’m not pushing you toward enlightenment…as much as I am inviting you to discover your own base board reaction and ways of repeating your patterns which projects your thoughts on to others. Real anger is quiet… you don’t have to take it out on anybody. You can be aware of your limitations and those of others and not blame yourself for not being able to make a connection with everyone you meet.

      Thanks for saying my grey matter is lacking. I’m really feeling persuaded by your sanity over mine.

      I am saddened by the debate about degrees of skin color, Doc Bobby. But I don’t blame Arielle for what you are mad at her for. I don’t blame her for talking about it. I don’t blame her for your insults. I don’t blame her for why white people are racists. She doesn’t deserve your wrath. She is the one who can speak to her experience. A white man and a white woman can not say how deep that pain is, how extreme the trauma, when to let go, how to let go, if to let go, or why. It’s on her time to heal and grow and learn and if she accepts any your ideas, or my ideas we should be grateful for the human connection… not because we are interested in taking credit. Yes Dr. King was a great face for his movement, but behind the scenes are unrecognized black women… real workers and you are not them. You don’t get the credit just because you lived thru it.

      Calling me and Arielle rapists is not something I take lightly. And you saying for me to report you in order for you to stop your unwanted behavior is a rape-culture agenda. You have no self control. You need to be reported in order to be controlled.

      You can think people are “sick” all you want, but I’ve been fighting for healing too long to fall for your lack of self possession. You are throwing yourself away and no good can come from such an offer.

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      • I appreciate this as a sensitively written response. No, we do not need to answer each other in kind, word for word, idea for (and against) idea. Now you have chosen to not meet my ideas with your own opposing ideas. I respect that. Our respective sanity levels need not be an issue. We don’t have to agree on our individual definitions of things.
        I have made my points. I will let my post of 10:25 carry my ideas. I maintain that i am befuddled and astonished that at this time we are debating intensity of skin pigment for any reason other than how it might go along with certain fabric color choices.
        “I am saddened by the debate about degrees of skin color, Doc Bobby.” Me too, and thanks for sharing that.

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  10. I’ll say it simply because not a one of you who have responded to me has addressed my main point. Your response to me and others who have disagreed with you is to call us names like haters and racists. You’ve maybe laid off a bit on the responders who self identified as people of color. But you didn’t answer them either. You say otherwise, but of course you have to defend your position when you make public statements. Otherwise, people boo you off the stage. Cassius knew that, and found a way to reach the crowd. Not just mollify them, but convince them. You (and direct this to a few of you) are reaching only those who already agree with you. You simply cast aside even the gentler and less persistent of the contingent arguing against you. And your main theme is if we disagree with you we are generically not just wrong, but bad. It took a few threads, with me saying similar things as i have here, for you Miss Tabby Cat to now say I am part of “rape culture.” For your purposes understand I am writer, editor, learner, teacher and some more things. I am actually going pretty easy here. Having a public blog is a big responsibility. Speaking nonsense is unacceptable. I don’t see how there is any defense (but please take a shot at explaining any of this stuff) for taking the tack that skin tone of subjects is relevant in judging a photo. That is pure unadulterated mixed-race-ophobic bigotry or simply what you insist doesn’t exist, but I’ll resort to the term anyway, reverse racism (don’t like the term either, preferring to leave out the “reverse” modifier. So, yes, I am calling you out on this. People fought…and some died… so people could have the right to marry whatever color person they choose. You are infected with the same mind numbing racist unenlightened narrow minded bigotry as those you fit into your various categories. Please, spare us the psychoanalysis…disagreeing with your bigotry and exclusionary dialectic does not make me a white supremacist, rapist, or hater. It is not my exclusion I react to, but the here-published (on this blog) exclusion of everyone who does not fit either a certain phenotype or mindset. I react to that and reject it because it first of all seems nonsensical to me and second of all comes from someone professing to want change but only on her terms without understanding what is required to advance change (i.e unity of purpose). If I worried or had concern about people such as yourself rejecting me, I would either agree with you or take my marbles elsewhere. The invitation, as I read it above this box, is “Share Your Truth” I’m afraid “You Can’t Handle The Truth.”

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    • Hiya, love the blog. Please just ban that loon doc, he adds nothing to the space but aggression and pointless straw-man arguments. Black women get silenced enough in the real world, in the virtual world we should take advantage of blocking features because these individuals like him exist solely to derail the discussion.

      It’s funny, his presence does confirm what we already knew, there is real contempt for black womanhood today and it’s clearly an epidemic.

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    • Really? You’re going cute with “tabby cat” and calling yourself an adult and professional teacher with an honest stake in the discussion? Hmmmm….
      Uh… I’m just gonna go ahead and call bullshit on you Booby. You’ve insulted soooo many people and justified it. Really weird attacks on eyeglasses and “hip” crowds. Did you even read the hipster article, the author wrote? You make constant cracks on age and youth. You don’t walk your talk so I wouldn’t want you for a teacher and I feel sorry for your classroom. I mean I’m sure you’re very nice to their faces as you condescend to them, but you propably couldn’t connect with any of them on a real personal or emotional level. The way you slag women when you’re mad at how you think they make you feel is really not what good teachers do. Arielle isn’t making you angry. You are. Big deal you or anyone that has a public blog that’s a big responsibility. That’s absurd. People on the internet are mean. No one holds the freaking blog world accountable. Particularly men. And they’ve been freshly pressing texan perspectives and white southern empire, cannibals, and good christian wives with a few pandering white feminists who talk about rape like it was a fucking cup of tea as well as one big feather headed feminist who is coddling all the men so they can feel included and not get their feelings hurt. The military blog is happily fuckwadding women and calling liberals and feminists crazy bitches and it’s mostly white people. Service men and their supportive wives… are claiming the same superiority as you while exhibiting no real education or manners they’d like to receive. Everyone is triggering. You are not innocent. You are mad that life didn’t work out the way you wanted.

      There’s nothing to read currently in the freshly pressed section that isn’t racist and sexist and homophobic or just centered around people’s very specific interests. And You don’t listen at all. Or you only hear selective elements and see how you feel entitled to reject the view. You don’t works things out for clarity you just hammer on them to make them your way.

      You reap what you sow, too fella. And you underestimate everyone. You haven’t taken the time to understand anyone but yourself. But whatever. I’m actually fighting for everyone, but you wouldn’t know that. You don’t know how to research and sift through my layers and piece them together because you think there is only the one puzzle. I don’t like how you talk to Katherine or Arielle… or me and it makes your truth not so important to me.

      There is a song by Rush called wish them well… maybe you’ll like it.

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    • I’m not sure banning him solves anything. I joined the blog, admittedly, because there is some insight within his ramblings, and “he” does raise some issues which have yet to be addressed.

      From my personal experiences, skin tone is an issue that should be addressed. I admit, “his” delivery is a little harsh, and critical, but the dialogue (moderated to some degree) may be helpful to growth.

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  11. I’m with you on this whole article. One of his songs mentions passing women to his niggas, a played out trope. It is a little disappointing for me to hear his talent, yet omit black women from his lyrics. I hear his songs and he’s so dope and his delivery is really good, but it’s hard for me to celebrate him as much as the media does. Maybe he doesn’t connect with the black woman experience.

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  12. So wait a minute you’ll still go out and support someone who doesn’t support you? Ok makes sense to me. I will not buy one album download one song from any of this rappers. Not only in support of black women but women period. I also will not support these corrupt machines who mass produce filth to the public.I’ll leave that up to the brainless.

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  13. I find this article limited in its critical analysis and irresponsible in its suggestions. The Mike Brown quote is misrepresented, the Iggy Azeala comment has provided great room for interpretation (I personally detect shade) in its brevity, and the I applaud the effort of a symbolic analysis of the album artwork but the assumptions are a stretch and the conclusions are wildly placed and charged. Finally, the argument about the Rolling Stone cover lacks consideration of the context and also borders on (if not very well tumbles into) problematic colorist logic. Is dark skin the only valid sign for blackness or black female identity?
    It’s great to open the floor for conversation and critique of his work and media presence. Kendrick willingly takes on a lot of responsibility by dedicating himself to an “authentic” representation of Black culture, and it’s only right that we keep a keen vigil on his actions. But we should also keep in mind that our community is extremely diverse and segmented in its experiences and stories.
    What expectations can we really put on Kendrick, a black male, to represent and speak for Black femininity? Are we negating the avid advocacy of black women, their beauty and worth, that he has done both lyrically and in interviews, at times fighting against the structure of the industry to promote dark-skinned black beauty, something that Black media culture itself often fails to do? Beyond this, how can he, an observer of the Black female experience but not someone who has lived said experience, really contribute to the discourse? If he were to take a bolder stance to speak to or speak for our women wouldn’t he be commiting an act of erasure and anti-feminist violence by taking space on platforms when there are other black female artists who can speak for themselves? And as a Black male who can speak to a specific lived experience, doesn’t his responsibility lie there?
    Don’t get me wrong, I too have found things in Kendrick’s statements that have rubbed against my own black queer feminism, but I also leave room to allow the fact that Kendrick’s cultural background, which is undoubtedly rooted and layered in every ounce of his work and media presentation, is a specific and unique subculture within the greater Black community. Growing up on the streets of Compton and that specific social environment is not something every Black millenial can fully identify with, even if they themselves come from the hood. Kendrick represents a specific street culture and urban Black male culture, which colors the lens through which he interprets things like the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and more over he doesn’t mask that cultural contribution to his thought process.
    If I’ve taken anything out if the Ferguson aftermath its that even within our own community we have to learn how to truly centralize and empower the voices of that street/hood culture that we’ve also pushed to the margins; we got to validate their knowledge and their lives. That may mean rethinking or being critical about our own privilege and call-out culture. We have to allow our radicals to not subscribe to our forms of radicalism.
    Is Kendrick anti-black woman? Absolutly not. Does he say things that may be problematic within the course of doing important and progressive cultural work for black and dominant communities? Yes. How can we be critical of this and ourselves to broden the potential of the conversations surrounding this descrepency?

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    • The best response on here. Kendrick has said in his interviews concerning his controversial statements that those who challenge those notions should know where he comes from first before addressing such things. Many just put their own ideologies into what they believe he is and should be.

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  14. Arielle, this piece is well written, well researched and completely entertaining. I applaud your integrity here because it’s hard not to overly emote the issue of Black women being second-class citizens within the Black community. I so share your adoration of K Dot’s ‘bananas’ creative talents, and (not but) as you’ve honestly laid before us here, his Black women politics are insensitive. Further, I see the pictures of Black celebs with light women all the time; I hear their jabs at or non-defense of Black women and their white women fandom, and I still don’t dismiss them or their talent. I understand. Just like I sometimes watch white movies and understand this is how it is. To troubleshoot my woes, I’ll purposely focus on Black men that love and support Black women. It helps. It also helps to read Black women’s perspectives. So, thank you.

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  15. I think what you’re doing with Feminism is good, however you are participating in colorism by assuming that Black Women cannot be light skinned. While you talk about Lamar’s erasure of Black Women, you yourself erase the experience of light skinned Black Women by writing them off as racially ambiguous. I understand that having lighter skin is a privilege, but that is no reason for us to not be included in Black culture (especially when we are raised by Black parents and can easily reference our own experiences of discrimination).

    Also watch this: https://youtu.be/VN2IteZRHvc.
    He explains the cover himself…please do not jump to conclusions about race and gender…it is harmful. The baby is not a blond white female…it is just “one of the homies’ baby” according to Lamar.

    The only blatant disrespect in this album cover is the judge on the ground, and in my opinion it is completely justified (though I do like that you draw attention and symbolism to the hidden females in the cover). I think when writing such charged pieces we really need to do due research to the cause; otherwise we rely on assumptions which is no better than the harm done to our community by the Establishment.

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  16. So I’m just wondering are we basing the racial categorization of that baby on the album art alone? Because if so, I don’t know how one could easily and accurately say that that baby is white. And as for blonde, I see no hair. I’ve read in other corners of the web that it might be an allusion to Malcolm? Thoughts?

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