Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vogue and The Los Angeles Times discover ass and cornrows *NSFW

By Tenisha Mercer

Actress Kristen Stewart wears two cornrows
Credit Vogue magazine -- that ultimate harbinger of designer style and fashion -- and the Los Angeles Times with not one but two 'Columbused' discoveries in 2014: It seems that ass and cornrows are, indeed, trends that should be coveted this fall.

So they say. 

How close are we to Columbus Day again?

Surely, these two topics can't be headlines and, more importantly, are written about in mainstream media as if Black folks had nothing to do with either of these so-called "discoveries." This is the problem with "trends." Someone created them. Someone deserves credit for them.

Really now, no one can be THIS stupid? Didn't The New York Times just apologize to "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes for calling her, and I quote, an "Angry Black woman?" And this is the follow up?

And poor Vogue. They've declared that, "We're Officially in the Era of the Big Booty."

Rapper Nicki Minaj
 *Big ass eyeroll.*

Surely Vogue (which goes out of its way to appropriate in not only in their U.S. edition, along with its dearth of models of African descent on their covers and between their pages, but in their European editions as well) can't be this dumb.

Not the magazine whose 2014 European editions showcase Caucasian models in black face on their pages, no? You heard that right ... in 2014. Couldn't be THAT Vogue, which regularly finds new and even more amazing ways to mock and insult Black culture than it already has.

They can't possibly be that stupid.
Or culturally clueless.
Or practice this much cultural jacking?

Or think that because they've declared the "era" of ass, that we're sitting back here ... ass clapping.

*Checks ass.* We as Black women don't have total, 100 percent card carrying rights to plump backsides (you do know that we weren't bequeathed the right to all ass and some didn't get the ass genetic memo) but we've been certainly carrying them 'round for thousands of years, thank you very much, well before Sir Mix-A-Lot sang his ode to, "Baby Got Back!"

Vogue does an obligatory mention of a smatter of Black women - Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and it references J-Lo and Shakira, yes. But those are only brief, passing mentions, while Kim Kardashian is covered a bit much, along with the Instagram booty of the year, Jen Salter, and Kimye's bud, Blac Chyna, as well as reported ass jacker and pop singer tuned white woman rapper of the century, Iggy Azalea.

Vogue even mentions the virtually assless, Miley Cyrus. 

This is the standard of ass: And it's everybody who ain't Black.

Catching hell for bootyliciousness

Call me clueless, but we've been catching hell for the bootay way before that. Tried to cover it up. Deemphasize it. And just because Vogue declared it a "thing," and citing Kim Kardashian's alleged fake ass as THE BOOTY standard, what does said woman with a real, God given ass supposed to do?

Go sit down somewhere on my ass? As if we were born with no lovely lady lumps?

Cornrows get no love 

Oh, and the cornrows!

The Times mentions Bo Derek in the very first line -- the anti-nemesis of cornrows worn by generations of young black girls for centuries  -- and just as many grown women and dudes rockin' cornrows in the Black diaspora, breathed a collective gasp of horror.

"Move over, Bo Derek."



I thought she made her rounds on this ish in the 70s? As if cornrows started and ended with her. As if she is the be all and end all of cornrows???

But then the author brings it home by mentioning every Caucasian person they can think of who has ever worn a few cornrows. And nary a mention of any Black person in the LA Times. Not one. Because this is the "fall trend" after all.

A "fall trend" that fails to even mention the word, "Black."

"Far from the bead-bedecked cornrows and plaits the actress wore in the 1979 film "10," cornrows with a punk vibe have shown up recently on model Cara Delevingne, singer Rita Ora and actress Kristen Stewart, as well as on the Alexander McQueen, DKNY and Marchesa runways. Madeline Brewer in "Orange Is the New Black" was another forerunner of the trend."

Now this, this made me give no f*cks, when the Times had the audacity to quote Jon Reyman, check me if I'm wrong, a White hairstylist.
'Cornrows are moving away from urban, hip-hop to more chic and edgy,' Jon Reyman was quoted as saying.
Surely, you know "urban," is code for Black, right? Urban is no good. Because, as Reyman said, cornrows were spotted on the runways at Alexander McQueen ...

But this is where Reyman draws the line:
"Just one cornrow or a couple on the side is really cool [as opposed to a headful], but they have to be on the right person with the right clothing." 
Wait. Just. A. Damn. Minute. Who is the "right" person? And there was no Black stylist you could have quoted? Or even thought to quote in addition to Reyman?

A braid is not a braid 
It is not Black folks -- not in the Americas, the continent of Africa, throughout South America or anywhere else for that matter  -- who have worn this style for THOUSANDS of years? But this article fails to mention not one person of Black or brown descent?

And to the scorn and collective "umphs" of Black women everywhere, this fool says this:

"A French braid is actually just a large cornrow."

I'm done. Just done.

Since the Times won't take the time to actually feature or reference Black women wearing braids, I will. Let me point out that this blog right here just happens to be littered with images of them -- in all styles, from cornrows and locs to everything in between -- for more than three years now and counting. 

Cultural appropriation, much? 

Now, if you happen to NOT be Black and have,
1. An ass.
2. Cornrows; do not despair.

Those two facts alone don't make it cultural appropriation just because you have them. No disrespect to the Caucasian women from all cultures who get their hair braided on the beaches of the Caribbean; I'm not coming for you. Or the Caucasian women who have ass.

I am coming after a magazine and a newspaper that have the nerve to declare a thing a "thing," and then give no credit to that "thing." Bo Derek can wear braids until her hair falls out. But give credit where credit is due.

I'll be damned if I'm supposed to feel better about something that a people have had for eons, just because you now have it, or can now buy it, or have it braided.

Am I supposed to be happy?


Am I supposed to feel some kind of way?

Larger "acceptance" of certain things, especially cultural things, by a society, doesn't make it any more or less right, necessarily. My affirmation doesn't come because society deems something I was born with, that countless have been scorned and made to feel bad about for, now suddenly "on trend."

But, what IS cultural appropriation at its finest, actually, is when you take these things that people possess or have knowledge of,  and then then try to erase them as if they never effin' happened. And then they are given not a bit of credit, as if they never had it in the first place.

Like Elvis. Or, you know, like 'Columbused.'

No different that your job in corporate, when your boss steals YOUR ideas and slaps her name on it. at the meeting with the big boss. Or, if you're a singer and you take your songwriter's work and slap YOUR name on it.

You'd have a hissy fit.

And why wouldn't you?

It was yours. You owned it. You're perfectly fine with sharing -- as long as you get credit, right?

It'd be like taking pizza -- which was created in Italy -- and then acting as if Italians never created it. 

So, the hell my women ancestors got for having ass, I want all of that back. Damn objectification. We're already objectified; it's others who are taking the credit for it now. I want Sara Baartman's body on display back. I want all the humiliation, the shame, the scorn, that she felt for her body - doing what her body did naturally -- I want it all back and replaced with pride.

A 19th century rendering of Sara Baartman

I want ass to look as good on a Black woman as it does on a woman who is not Black. 

I want cornrows to look as good on Bo Derek and actress Kristen Stewart as they have looked on generations of Black women, probably since the beginning of time, who wore intricate, braided styles as symbols of their regality, ethnic heritage and protection in the Sub-Saharan climate. 

Because. Remember, ass and cornrows are "things."

But no.

I don't need validation.
I don't need affirmation.

All I need is credit.  And a trademark or two.  

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