Real Talk

What It's Like Watching Khloé Kardashian Steal from Black Culture

"I just want to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians without constant reminders that your family has cashed in by appropriating marginalized cultures and making them acceptably mainstream."

By Katricia Lang June 8, 2017

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Dear Khloé, 

Things between us haven't been the same since the series finale of Khloé & Lamar. You lost 40 pounds, then tried to convince us all that we needed waist trainers. You dated French Montana and James Harden. And now dbleudazzled designer Destiney Bleu has accused you of copying her designs for your Good American clothing line.

There’s a fine line between inspiration and infringement. Bleu says you ordered one of everything from her site in December. This makes sense: She’s an independent designer to the stars. Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams and your sister Kylie have all worn her clothing.

What happened next makes less sense.

Instead of wearing a couple of the pieces yourself at a public appearance, it looks like you had the Good American designers custom-make dbleudazzled’s trademark bodysuit to feature in your new Good American video ad. Is that what happened? Because that’s what it looks like.

I read the official statement from Good American, saying neither you nor the company have done anything illegal. I saw your Instagram posts of Britney, Diana, and Cher in bedazzled bodysuits. We get it, Bleu didn't invent the bedazzled bodysuit. Still, it’s not a good look.

I thought the Khloé Kardashian brand was more than beauty and fashion. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin. Being smart. Being fierce and confident, not just pretty. You’re the “chubby” sister with “a body like a Honda” and the I-don’t-give-a-what attitude, remember? The Kardashian that even people who roll their eyes at your family can love. This is why I follow you on Twitter and watch episodes of Kocktails with Khloé.

But blunders like this force me to think of you as a parasitic, win-at-all-costs businesswoman. That’s no fun. I just want to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians without constant reminders that your family has cashed in by appropriating marginalized cultures and making them acceptably mainstream. But it’s hard, when you caption your posts “LA face with an Oakland booty” and “Bantu babe,” or you wear a Native American headdress to a one-year-old’s birthday party, or you take a selfie in a niqab.


Habibi Love

A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on

I can only look the other way so many times. I’m a black woman living in a society that calls traditional black hairstyles unstylish, unprofessional, inelegant—ghetto—until they’re transposed onto white scalps. Then they become hot, edgy, and fresh. When Zendaya wore her hair in dreads to the Oscars in 2015, E!'s Fashion Police declared she probably smelled like weed. But when Marc Jacobs puts Kendall in rainbow dreadlocks on the runway, suddenly it's "[H]ow cute is my little Kenny with her dreads walking in the show?!" 

These new allegations that you stole from a black-owned company mean I can’t be seen anywhere near Good American clothes—me, the one who pays $24.99 for access to your website. My street cred (if I had any—did I mention I write about musical theater?) would vanish. My black card, if it existed, would be revoked. You need to fix this, for you and for your fans.

My advice: Listen to the people who are telling you why this is offensive and wrong. Find out who you are when you're not copying someone else. In the meantime, don’t call anything a comeback that’s been here for years.

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