op-ed: an open letter to kylie jenner

September 25, 2015

Cultural appropriation refers to a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group. 

By KiNG, AFROPUNK Contributor


Ain’t it fun

to wear 

everything black

except for the skin?

Your privilege

allows you to pull the knives

out from our throats

Decorate your hair with them

Call them cornrows

and you don’t even see

the blood seeping out your scalp

You don’t even see the blood

seeping out Baltimore

McKinney. Ferguson

Need I continue?

Ain’t it fun to be blind

when you choose to?

You’ve stolen a sky

adorned in midnight

Smeared it across your belly

Got a black boy teaching

you how to breathe fire

so you think

you understand

what it means to burn


you always silent

when the smoke signals go off

or you be begging the

smoke sirens to be quiet

Did Amandla get too loud for you?

I know it’s hard for us

to demand you do more than

just wear our culture

but stand by it on the days

the costume gets too heavy

Because these bones

can get too heavy too

Have you heard the saying

It’s not what you do with the gun

it’s how you hold it after?

A gun is just another name for a body

a metaphor for our black bodies

This is all to say you are reckless

in how you carry something

with such little trigger warning

You ain’t just a kid anymore

There are no more excuses

Especially when you play dress up

as black girls who are seen as women

before their womanhood even arrives


Our hands have scars I’m sure 

you’ll never ask about unless 

you think they’ll look good 

as bracelets

When the pain is fashionable

When every tongue has 

bitten itself in your presence

Do you know what it means 

to remake everything that 

has been stolen from you? 

When it gets quiet enough 

do you hear the howling some nights? 

There is your answer. 

KiNG is a 21 year old gender fluid, bisexual, biracial, spoken word poet, as well as co-founder of SLiM Poetry (an open mic at the Container Yard in the Arts District). Through writing and performing, I seek to create dialogue and develop a rapport with readers/audience members. I also intend to shatter stigma pertaining to mental health, feminism, racism, and anything social justice related as well as encourage creative communities to integrate and innovate. 


Instagram: @king.among.men