Over the weekend, Kylie Jenner posted a photo of herself with her hair in cornrows to Instagram along with the caption, “I woke up like disss.” The reality star was soon criticized for the picture, however, with Hunger Gamesstar Amandla Stenberg being one of Jenner’s most vocal detractors.
“When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter,” Stenberg wrote in the photo’s caption, according to screenshots posted by BuzzFeed.
Stenberg, who played Rue in The Hunger Games, has often discussed cultural appropriation — most notably in a video that went viral back in April. And while the actress did not directly address the Jenner row in the aftermath of its pick-up online, Stenberg did post a note on Monday about the double standard surrounding “black female sexuality.”
“Black features are beautiful. Black women are not. White women are paragons of virtue and desire. Black women are objects of fetishism and brutality,” Stenberg wrote. “This, at least, seems to be the mentality surrounding black femininity and beauty in a society built upon eurocentric beauty standards. While white women are praised for altering their bodies, plumping their lips, and tanning their skin, black women are shamed although the same features exist on them naturally.
“This double standard is one string in the netting that surrounds black female sexuality — a web that entraps black women when they claim sexual agency. Deeply ingrained into culture is the notion that black female bodies, at the intersect of oppression, are less than human and therefore unattractive. They are symbols of pain, trauma, and degradation. Often when they are sexualized, it is from a place of racial fetishism.”
Stenberg, who is 16, concluded her note — which posted to Twitter and Instagram — with a question to the masses. “As culture shifts and racial tensions are tested through the vehicle of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it’s important to question: Do female black lives matter too?”
Read her full note below.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated Jenner’s hairstyle.