Kendall and Kylie, Tupac Wouldn't FWU. Stop Using His Name to Further your Brand.
By: Kayla Pasacreta
Kylie and Kendall Jenner are no strangers to controversy. The most recent backlash the two are getting stems from their new set of limited-edition tee shirts for their clothing collection, Kendall + Kylie. For $125 a pop, fans will be able to purchase “vintage” inspired tee shirts. But there’s one problem – the shirts feature photos of rappers Tupac and Biggie, with photos and initials of Kylie and Kendall printed on top. A photo of Kylie bending over in a bikini is pictured over a photo of the late Tupac.
Kylie and Kendall, by all means, get it how you can. Promote yourself and further your brand. But don’t do it by exploiting the legacy of Tupac and Biggie. Tupac, a fierce advocate of social rights and equality, made it a point to draw attention to the epidemic of police brutality and oppression against black people. He would never stand for anything your brand symbolizes.
Kendall Jenner is the same girl who played the leading role in an insensitive and politically tone deaf Pepsi commercial that shamelessly trivialized and commercialized the Black Lives Matter Movement by suggesting that one soda was enough to cure society of racial tensions and equality. And this same girl is using the image of Tupac to make money for herself. Despite backlash stemming from the insensitivity of the commercial, Kendall didn’t make a single statement to apologize or clarify her role in the commercial. Kendall has also never made a single statement or social media post about police brutality. She doesn’t care about publicly speaking out about the issues black people face – so she shouldn’t use black figures of activism for her personal gain.
Additionally, I truly do not believe that Kendall Jenner understands how fiercely devoted and serious Tupac was about speaking the truth about injustice. In an interview last year with Vogue, she referred to the rapper as her “spirit animal”. Though Kendall may have thought this comment was cute and quirky, it shows she has no clue about just how serious Tupac’s advocacy was. Tupac didn’t face never-ending lawsuits, a war on him by the media to paint him as a violent thug, and ultimately his death, to be referred to in a cute way as a white girl’s “spirit animal”.
I have no issue with the Jenner girls making a splash into the beauty or clothing industry – but I do take tremendous offense with the pattern of the family using black culture to make success for themselves. Don’t attempt to rebrand Tupac, especially when you have hardly ever spoken out against the injustice he was a strong opponent of. Don’t attempt to gloss over his authentic image simply because he’s not alive to represent himself. It’s disrespectful, tone deaf, and grossly inappropriate.
And for the love of God – do not disrespect a dead man by featuring your half naked body overlaying an image of him. Do not cover his face with your goddamn initials. Kylie and Kendall, you should seriously know better. I won’t be supporting this line, and I urge you not to. If the girls really wanted to give Tupac and Biggie a tribute, they could have done so without plastering their faces, half naked bodies, and initials over photos of the two icons.
I’ll leave you with the words of Tupac,
Kendall and Kylie, until you start using your platform to bring more awareness to other issues that actually matter, don’t capitalize off of woke legends to build your brand’s success.