Thank You Andre Leon Tally, Laverne Cox and Andy Cohen: You Reminded Us …

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Andy Cohen shamed into apologising to Amandla Stenberg after “jackhole” comments amid Kylie Jenner cornrow feud.

“Today’s Jackhole goes to the Instagram feud between Kylie Jenner and Hunger Games star/Jaden Smith’s prom date, Amandla Stenberg, who criticized Kylie for her cornrows, calling it cultural appropriation,” he said, before asking: “White girls in cornrows — is it okay or nay?” His light-hearted take on the topic went down like a lead balloon on social media and soon went sour, and sparked the “#boycottBravo” to start trending on Twitter. “I want to apologise to Amandla.Twitter — and more specifically #BlackTwitter — is all fired up over the Real Housewives visionary’s decision to call outspoken teen actress Amandla Stenberg a “jackhole” during his popular late-night show Watch What Happens Live. I didn’t understand the larger context of this cultural discussion and TRULY meant no disrespect to her or anyone else.” Oranges Is The New Black star Laverne Cox, who has had a high profile mutual appreciation relationship with Caitlyn Jenner (Kylie’s father), claimed that she was not interested in getting in to “any celebrity feud” but had felt torn with the limited time she had. “I also felt that the topic of cultural appropriation needs way more than the 10 seconds or less I had to respond at the end of the show to fully unpack. “I said as much to Andre Leon Tally after the cameras stopped rolling… Far too often culture is appropriated without an understanding of the history and hardships from which that culture emerges.” She commented on the snap: “When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter.” Amandla posted a video earlier this year which quickly went viral, in which she discussed the issues of cultural appropriation, asking: “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?” The clip was titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrow”, and she is heard saying: “Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves.” It all started over the weekend when Stenberg posted a pointed comment about cultural appropriation on an Instagram photo showing Kylie Jenner with cornrows.

Kylie Jenner gave her younger self a good scolding on Tuesday, July 14, for breaking a vow she made on an early season of her family’s reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Cohen had, in the run-up to his apology, pointed out that 16-year-old Stenberg herself had not been his target, but rather the “Instagram feud” between the two. Indeed, she’s almost unrecognizable from the Kylie Jenner of today, who has admitted to using “temporary lip fillers” to plump up her now-famous pout.

Calling the “feud” itself a “Jackhole” is incoherent, and it also reduces any criticism a star could make of another, no matter how well-reasoned or well-intentioned, to just being a hater. In a statement sent to USA TODAY, ColorofChange.org blames Cohen and Bravo for perpetuating negative sterotypes about black women and demands that they “clean up their act.” “Andy Cohen‘s offensive and completely tone-deaf reaction to Amandla Stenberg’s decision to take a stand against cultural appropriation is no surprise. The PacSun designer — the youngest of the famous Kardashian-Jenner brood, which also includes sister Kendall Jenner, half-sisters Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian, and half-brother Rob Kardashian — captioned the screengrab simply, “Dammit, Kylie!” along with a crying-with-laughter emoji.

Bieber urged the online community to “leave her alone.” The fight for equality doesn’t start calling a “17-year-old kid” with braids a racist, he said. A simple Google search brings back memories of the time he used gay slang to describe members of the band One Direction, or called reality star Heidi Montag “trash,” or said New York’s PS 22 chorus “was the worst” at their Oscars performance, or called a tennis sideline interviewer “that poor lesbian reporter.” Each time brought the requisite apology: Cohen is accustomed to speaking freely and sometimes uses that freedom to push past a zone dictated by others’ comfort, or simple good taste.

This time, though, felt different; rather than simple criticisms, Cohen was met with a trending #BoycottBravo hashtag, a legitimate concern for the star of a network whose most-highly-rated Housewives series features a cast made up exclusively of black women. But as Cohen’s star has risen, he’s moved from instigator to center stage: too often, the show is spent worrying whom Cohen will take down for no reason but pique. (It’s notable that Laverne Cox, one of Cohen’s two guests during the Stenberg segment, has said she was uncomfortable with the topic being raised.) If he’s going to categorize a dispute between two minors over contentious issues of race as “Jackhole” territory, he should at least be aware enough of the facts of the case to make a remark that makes sense.

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