Blake Lively's Gentrified Booty, Explained

Clemens Bilan/Getty Images
Clemens Bilan/Getty Images

Who is Blake Lively?

For a while I thought she was Sienna Miller. Like, I'd see her and say "That's Sienna Miller in that movie, apparently."


But she's not Sienna Miller. And she's definitely not Scarlett Johansson.

Are you sure?


So she's just Blake Lively?

Yes. She is just Blake Lively, a person who is not Sienna Miller and definitely not Scarlett Johansson.

What is gentrification?

Gentrification is defined by Merriam-Webster as the "process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents."

If you want a more nuanced and robust definition, check out the "There Goes The Neighborhood" podcast, created by Rebecca Carroll and hosted by The Nation's Kai Wright.

How can I tell if a neighborhood has been or is in the process of being gentrified?


The types of businesses, bike lanes, and apartment/loft/condo listings that propagate seemingly overnight are one indication. If a Trader Joe's all of a sudden pops up in the hood, best believe its not there for you, Jerome.

But the best signal has always been White woman with shih tzus. If you walk through an inner-city neighborhood, and you see at least two White women with shih tzus and yoga pants, it's a gentrified neighborhood.


Why two? Why not one?

One White women with a shih tzu could be just be lost. Or following her dreams when she quits her cushy girls track coaching position at Prescott High to become the boys football coach at inner-city Central High. Even though she's faced with both racial and gender prejudices, she whips the team into shape, so they can compete against Prescott High in the final.


Did you just quote the IMDB description of the movie Wildcats?


I see. So why is Blake Lively in the news today?

While at the Cannes Film Festival, the modelesque Lively shared a picture of herself in brown dress that makes her look quite shapely.


The caption she added on the pic said "L.A. face with an Oakland booty." Which is a reference to a line in Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back."


This upset some people, who felt this was racially insensitive.

How so?

"L.A. face with an Oakland booty" by itself is a somewhat problematic line, as it suggests that the optimal Black woman is one with a body more commonly associated with Black woman (Oakland), but with facial features more aligned with the White (Hollywood/LA) standard of beauty. But no one really gave a damn about that line when Mix-A-Lot said it because it was 1992, and all we cared about was Karl Kani and the McRib.


Anyway, by using this caption, Lively essentially gentrified the booty. Which is actually apropos because she has a gentrified booty.

What's a gentrified booty?

Sometimes in newly gentrified neighborhoods you'll find new "ethnic" restaurants that are just ethnic in name only. It'll tout itself as "Vietnamese Cuisine." But if you actually peeked into the kitchen, you'd just see four bearded hipsters in 511s making ramen and adding Old Bay. A gentrified booty, which Blake Lively possesses, follows the same script.


If you looked at literally any other picture of Lively other than the one in question, you'd see that her "booty" is basically just an extension of her back. There's no booty there. Just a back, and then an asscrack, and then air. Even after adding a few pounds for pregnancy, it's still the size of a spider whisper.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with not having much booty. You know who else didn't have much booty? Jesus.


But there is something wrong with pretending to have it, especially if you're only pretending to have it now because it's now, officially, "cool" for you to pretend to have it.

I get it now. Anything else?

Not really. On the "zero to Zimmerman" 100 point scale of shit to get upset about, this is like a 7.5. And admittedly she did look very good in the dress. I even forgot for a minute that she's not Sienna Miller and definitely not Scarlett Johansson.


Just don't gentrify the booty, man. Noodles? Maybe. Booty? No!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Zo Williams

If you wear a weave that doesnt grow from the head of a person from your own race, then you shouldnt have a thing to say about cultural appropriation..