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Kendrick Lamar Preferring ‘Natural’ Women Isn’t Wrong, But The Way He Said It Is

Kendrick Lamar’s new single, “Humble,” is getting a lot of backlash.

If we’re strictly talking personal opinion, the video wasn’t exactly “offensive,” nor was it worth getting particularly charged up for, either.

So, will I be sending any angry posts over social criticizing Kendrick any time soon? Over these three lines?

I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks

Split screen image of woman in Kendrick Lamar's video for "humble"

YouTube

Nah, it’s just not that deep.

But again, that’s a personal opinion, and personal opinions are just that: personal and informed by the places we come from.

My opinion comes from a young black male, who hasn’t been impacted by society’s standards of beauty during his adult life.


So yeah, I’m more inclined to receive the video as a fire piece of work, like many others are.

But there’s a big difference between the saying “I’m not personally offended” by the video, and saying, “I can’t believe there are people who are actually offended.”

Going all in with the latter argument would require a total ignorance of the different places other people might come from on the subject.

It’d also require being totally oblivious about a fact that should be pretty obvious by now: A person discussing their preference on women’s beauty standards is rarely ever received as just preferences.

This is especially true when those preferences are compared to other types of behaviors.


We’ve seen this enough times by know to know how this should work.

Ayesha Curry was “just” talking about how she likes to dress when she talked about covering up.

And men were “just” talking about wanting a modest women when the phrase “get you an Ayesha Curry” was popularized.

Next thing you know, the phrase was turned into a weapon to bash other women when they were deemed indecent, like Kehlani during that infamous episode involving Kyrie Irving.

Prompting the creation of a trendy slogan for trolls wasn’t Curry’s intention. But she invited a twisting of her words by prefacing her statement about how she prefers to dress by referencing people “barely wearing clothes.”

Likewise, Kendrick Lamar may “just” be talking about how he likes stretch marks and natural hair, but by prefacing his assertion by saying he’s “sick and tired” of the Photoshop (in a song repeating the words “bitch, be humble,” no less), guess who he’s invited his lyrics to be used against?

Women who don’t stick to a “natural” look.

The framing of these “personal preferences” is just one reason for someone to either take exception to Kendrick’s video or comment on why it could be problematic.

Bomani Jones tweets about Kendrick Lamar's "Humble"

Twitter

There are bound to be other reasons, too.

Why? Because discussing what makes women beautiful is a complicated task that, when not handled delicately, can prompt anger.

More importantly, the reasons for that anger are easy to understand, even when the anger is not shared.

To say otherwise would require ignoring the obvious about how women’s beauty standards are discussed and the different ways those discussions impact people.

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Joseph Milord

Editor

Joseph is a Senior Writer, Editor and early member of the Elite Daily team. He studied Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University and will probably call Jersey home forever.
Joseph is a Senior Writer, Editor and early member of the Elite Daily team. He studied Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University and will probably call Jersey home forever.

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