Social media is mad at Kendrick Lamar, and K.Dot stans swear it’s because a black man has pegged Photoshop Twitter™ as obsolete. Here are the offending lyrics from his latest hit, “HUMBLE.”
I’m so f****** sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin’ natural like a** with some stretch marks
First off, let’s be clear that men can have preferences without being problematic, so long as you do not drag women for doing what they want. Reread that last part, okay? Kendrick slighted women who choose to get work done, wear weaves, and photoshop their photos. That’s where he messed up.
It’s become increasingly popular to support black women who wear their natural hair, and I’m a huge fan of that as I rock my natural, very short curls. However, as a woman who has never and probably will never get cosmetic surgery, contour my face, or rid myself of stretch marks, I understand that it’s up to an individual to chose how to present themselves. We all should never lose respect for others because of what they do with their bodies, as that would be corny and detrimental to black liberation.
It also would be ignorant of the history of rap culture, which required women to look a certain way to get into the industry (light skin, no stretch marks, long weaves or natural 3b hair pattern). The patriarchy made the rules of what is appealing; don’t bash women for playing the game AND choosing to love themselves. Check the CEOs and other rappers you hop on songs with, not the woman who wants to be seen as sexually pleasing yet is rejected when she doesn’t do The Most™ by your industry’s standards.
seriously, if you’re a man, think of all the physical imperfections you have that you don’t have to spend a moment worrying about.
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) April 3, 2017
The main argument used to try to silence the backlash aimed at the lyrics in question suggests it’s hypocritical to critique Kendrick and not Migos. Here’s why that logic is faulty:
Migos has never and probably will never position themselves as “conscious” rappers like K.Dot has, therefore their lyricism is never compared to each other as far as appropriateness of content or skill. People compare Kendrick with Cole (to much chagrin), or Quavo with Young Thug, get the difference? We expect Kendrick to continue to advocate for black liberation because that’s what he came out doing. We just want him to be consistent, that’s all.
Dismissing an argument as hypocritical does not invalidate its merit. So what if someone is cool with Gucci Mane saying problematic nonsense but is up in arms over Kendrick? The current conversation is on Kendrick, so don’t try and change the topic– let people do a thread dragging whoever so long as their facts are right.
As a community, we should take the time to educate each other and allow him to explain what he meant. It could be argued that he was speaking to black men about his displeasure with photoshop and the ridiculous standards they hold women to. Maybe he intended the verse to be a call to prominent figures in black culture to follow his lead and support black beauty of all shapes and shades. If that was his intention he could have been more clear, but it’s obvious he didn’t mean to be malicious. Nonetheless, if we all just stopped policing how women dress and beat their face or slay their hair, the world would be a better place, and our faves would be less problematic.