In a recent discussion with Interview Magazine, Kim Kardashian again set the internet ablaze with controversy. It wasn’t just the September cover image, in which the reality star shows her bare backside in a jockstrap, that caused a stir. It was Kardashian lamenting about how some of her biggest critics have said for years that she has no talent.
“I’m like, ‘Well, we have a TV show.’ But just because we’re not singing and dancing and acting on the show doesn’t mean that the fame didn’t come from that. But then, I would write that as a hashtag, not bad for a girl with no talent, because people used to be like, ‘Well, what do you do? What’s your talent?’ And I’m like, ‘Didn’t know I needed one.’”
“I mean, I can give you a million f—king talents. I can cook well, use my toes for anything. I could tell you the weirdest f—king s—t on the planet. But I think my talent is marketing and the business behind selling products and knowing what the customer wants and making it feel attainable, but also a bit unattainable at the same time. I wouldn’t say that’s a talent. I think it’s a bit of magic and business savvy. Maybe it is talent, I don’t know.”
It’s not surprising that the mother of four wouldn’t acknowledge her real talent: profiting from the aesthetic of Black women. Kardashian has become infamous for her curvaceous body (she denies it is surgically enhanced), which was underscored with her 2014 Paper Magazine cover. The featured photo drew comparisons to Saartjie Baartman (who hailed from South Africa) and was known as “Hottentot Venus.”
Baartman was a Black woman who was forced to have her exoticized body become a public spectacle for white people. Kardashian, on the other hand, has gone to extreme lengths to achieve this and her look includes having plump lips, a protruding posterior and heavy amounts of contoured makeup.
Over the years, her and her family have not only been accused of cultural appropriation (think cornrows, Yaki ponytails, acrylic nails) but Kim herself has been called out for wearing blackface. In 2017, the allegations were heavy as her skin was noticeably darker in photos for her KKW Beauty marketing campaign.
The backlash was so bad that she eventually switched out the images. She was also accused of copying Black fashion for a Vogue cover story that ran earlier this year. Her personal life, which consists of high profile relationships with several Black men, is also another way Kardashian monetized proximity to Black culture; She also used Black women as surrogates for two of her children.
Perhaps she doesn’t consider her ability to steal from Black women a talent as much as an obsession. And as Kim knows, America will go above and beyond to make sure Black women never receive their due.