Here’s a pro tip: Don’t rely on rap music for articulate breakdowns on the social implications of black womanhood, or for an affirmation of it. Black women exist in rap music for conquest and consumption by men (or other women.) It doesn’t matter whether the rapper is ‘conscious’, trap or somewhere in between. For the most part, women in rap are nameless and silent.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s address the Kendrick lyric that has the internet going nuts. It’s from his new single Humble, the first off his forthcoming album. It goes;

I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks
Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in Polo socks, ayy

Is it less offensive than other rap lyrics targeted at women?
Yes, but at the end of the day it’s still a faceless black woman shaking ass in a rap video. Which is the same ‘ol, same ‘ol — both for rap music and Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick ain’t #feministbae.

Is it worth the hoopla that has surrounded it?
No. The negative reactions have been waaaay exaggerated in my opinion.

Should I be grateful to Kendrick? Is he doing my stretch-marked ass a favor?
No. First off this isn’t news — at least not to me. When it comes to sex, a few zebra strips ain’t stopping the show for most men. I swear to you, I once had a conversation back in 2014 with a black girlfriend who suspected black men had a secret ‘booty stretch marks’ fetish based on remarks she’d heard over the course of her dating career.

All Kendrick is telling me is that he’d have sex with a woman in spite of (because of?) her stretch marks. This is valuable information if you consider sex with Kendrick Lamar a prize. I don’t. So all he’s done is publicize his sexual preference. Which is… whatever I guess. I like the song though.

So if this isn’t groundbreaking, what *would* be groundbreaking?
Rap lyrics affirming black women that have nothing to do with the way they look, the way they have sex, or their ability to take abuse as a show of loyalty.

So, do you still like Kendrick?
Yes, he’s still one of my favorite rappers, Humble is absolute flame (and great twerking music) and I *may* or may not have played the video a couple dozen times since it came out.

Ladies, what are your thoughts on the lyric? Did you have a positive reaction? Negative? Why or why not?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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39 Comments on "Kendrick Lamar Loves Stretch Marks. Good For Him."

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Jas
Late to the discussion…I enjoy Kendrick Lamar’s music. Love his latest album Damn. Played that CD for like a month straight. With that being said, I’m just not here for the men telling women what to do, how to be, what to appreciate, put down the lipstick or pick it back up for those who prefer their women to wear lipstick and so forth. I don’t think Kendrick means anything negative behind the song Humble…I’m tired of men and their opinions on women. lol Maybe with all of the craziness going on with the government and how they want to… Read more »
SweetAsTea

The hype of body positivity versus body shaming is old and dry. Everyone talks about it, not paying attention to how edgy and butthurt they sound. Just opinions, no one is being requested to change anything. I think at this point, everyone should be focusing on being healthy. If you are the appropriate weight but you still have stretch marks, then whoop-dee-doo. It’s okay. No big deal, everyone makes such controversial issues about these things. Women need to stop getting offended after causing their own issues with their own bodies.

Nora

You are who you are. Stretch marks and all.

The Realest Girl
I think like most women in general, you kinda missed the point. Kendrick meant that it doesn’t matter if you have stretch marks or not, you’re still good enough. It’s more of an acceptance thing. Note: In the video the girl went from dressed slutty to dressed modest. Not oh I just wanna smash. Because believe it or not, the girls who do post their behinds all over the web use some sort of Editor, and posting your body is a cry for help. It’s a sign of low self esteem, because it’s seeking the attention of anyone. So if… Read more »
Cryssi

Hey Black Girl Long Hair/Leila! Are y’all okay? We haven’t had a new article in over a month? Hope everything is alright.

Chrissy

the message in Kendrick’s song is way deeper then the stretch marks remark. Its so much knowledge in that song for black people if you just stop picking the negative and really listen to what he saying. this world is about to change black women are starting to love they NATURAL self our melanin, stretch marks, and kinky hair is the first thing we need to embrace in order to love ourselves and be ready for what YAH has planned for us. Im actually Kendrick Lamar biggest fan and love his music along with tupac and jcole

inna

sooo did y’all just stop posting articles? what happened?

Nickel

Update your content. Nothing’s changed on this site for 2 weeks. Curlynikki.com here I come.

Jollygyal

Bye.

Keheinde

I think Kendrick was trying to ease the main conversation away from being something completely manufactured. In a world where “ideal” beauty can be bought I think its important that we let ANYONE know that natural born god given self is still amazing. On another spectrum the comment is still ignorant to a womans other great qualities like her intelligence. perhaps?

BreeBreeBree

Nice write up I agree with most of everything written…also I am tired of men and what is considered REAL or BEAUTIFUL

Womanthouart
I’m never impressed by men in the entertainment industry like Kendrick Lamar, who speak on any type of black empowerment or black love when their significant other is nonblack. If they can “appreciate” the beauty of black women or address the black struggle or issues, then it’s hypocritical to not choose a black woman as a mate. It’s being ambiguous. He loves the black woman in all her glory, stretch marks and all, yet his fiancee isnt black. All he’s doing is trying to maintain his black card and satisfy his black fan base but he’s a fraud. He talks… Read more »
Kiyla

I’m super late but I felt this too lol! Once I heard that line about f*cking on your moms couch… I was like so I’m still ok to have sex with? Thats news I guess lol. Good song but only groundbreaking to kids who are caught up in Hollywood’s narrow view of beauty.

dani

I’m so glad you wrote this, and so short and sweet too! I like Kendrick Lamar, I love the song, I love the music video. But he should not be praised for his ‘stretch marks’ comments; he was essentially objectifying women in a different type of way. I couldn’t agree with your opening lines more. People, namely black women, really should stop looking to rap (or media) to break down black women-hood or affirm it. Be proud of who you are, whether or not someone notices or compliments it.

Bri2The

His wife/fiancé/main girl is of what race now? Not like that really matters… it’s. just.. ironic? Yes, because he’s obsessing over how BLACK women look. However, thanks, Kendrick, for sharing your preferred sexual partner’s physical attributes. We know, we know – black women are magic; we’re irresistible and you still want us.

Haterhater

She’s black, her skin is just light. They’ve been together since they were kids. What are you getting at?

Sashy
I think the point Kendrick made flew over your head. He basically parodied typical black rap videos. He’s not publicizing his ‘sexual preference’. He tries to portray a typical rap video where there’s a girl-barely, I might add-shaking her ass. However, he goes against the normal retort of showing a light skin, big booty, smooth as a baby’s skin ass instead, you see a normal size ass, it has stretch marks, cellulite, there’s hyperpigmention. It goes beyond a girl shaking her ass, the point he’s making is why all rap videos have to be about money, having a squad, cars,… Read more »
Mvumikazi

tragic. bittersweet. There black women they could hire to explain this stuff them, or is this going to have to be another “ever since i had my little girl” type situation. . .sigh. . .

Mvumikazi | Urban Mnguni

Jade
I think women, black women especially, are tired of hearing about men’s opinions on women’s appearance in general and what we should be doing to please them? That lyric just came across as a little tone deaf because on one hand he’s talking about being tired of the ” Photoshop” but not really acknowledging the climate that allows it to exist in the first place; societal pressures and expectations of, you guessed it….men. Maybe he was talking about his own preferences but I guess I’m wondering who he’s speaking to. Instead of talking about what women should be doing with… Read more »
Chrissy

its a song he cant explain everything in a song but ok…

TWA4now

Good for him but it’s still sexualuzing a woman.

Mela
I think the bigger question is, why were we assuming Kendrick Lamar was attempting to interject feminism into his lyrics, and two I think hearing someone say Beat her Walls loose is way more problematic than someone saying, why do we have to paint over a perfectly fine normal human body to make it desirable for mass consumption…. the silence explicit objectification and sexualization befuddles me in comparison to this lyric and imagery….which I think the point was are both images of the same woman arousing? The answer is YES! And in relation to the be humble theme, he’s reminding… Read more »
Susie White
Big sigh. It’s like these days, people literally wait for someone to say something so that they can whine about being offended for a week. I wonder if that is also a characteristic of the ‘new wave’ of feminism- this urge to be upset by anything a man says. Kendrick likes what he likes & he said what he said. Everyday black men rap about liking light skinned women, small waists & big a$$es. And there is no uproar on twitter when they do or a myriad of think pieces. For once someone includes a woman with stretch marks in… Read more »
lindy arter
Haven’t heard the song, so I can’t speak to it. However, the reason that I haven’t heard the song is because I seriously can’t listen to most rap music. Every other lyric is about someone’s bitch not being fine (Because somehow it’s still appropriate to judge a man’s worth by how attractive other people find the woman he’s dating. Not to mention the objectification of the woman), some ho’ the guy is having sex with (I nearly threw my phone across the room at a song with the opening line “come here ho.”) and the litany of other insults made… Read more »
Susie White

Kendrick didn’t ask for praise. He’s a musician singing for bucks or whatever. It’s the twitter warriors who made a big deal of one line in a song & ironically made it famous. Sure, it would be great if all women accepted their bodies. Sadly, we live in the real world where majority of women don’t. And if musicians singing about loving stretch marks will cause young women to embrace their bodies then more power to them.

Sharice Bee
Finally, someone has said what I’ve been thinking. This really isn’t a big deal. All of the think pieces and twitter threads that ignited not even a day after the video/song premiered dissected ONE verse just for us to reach the conclusion that rap music will always have levels of misogyny. Even the beloved J. Cole said some misogynistic bullshit in his “No Role Modelz” song and i remember many women praising that song like Jesus himself wrote the lyrics. I think the women that are enraged by this are honestly twitter feminists and don’t know nor practice the true… Read more »
lis

Didn’t understand a word of this responce…but ok.

J.J
I believe this can also be interpreted as if he is attacking the media for always promoting images that are photoshopped. It’s not often we see a woman with stretch marks being utilized for anything other than weight loss techniques. Women with natural hair are starting to have more of a presence in media, however, it’s often times a certain type of natural. Definitely not the Richard Pryor type of natural, more like the 3c-4b type of natural. I will counterargue my own claim by saying that the last line of the portion of lyrics you highlighted may insinuate that… Read more »
Jenna

Let me guess… You’re a man!?!

J.J

My vagina says otherwise

Ile

I am speechless. You must be a writer or a journalist the way you express your opinion is fresh

Margaretcnb

There’s many well spoken or educated commenters on this site. You don’ need to be a journalist to state your opinion in a proper manner.

J.J

I wish! Lol. Thank you for the compliment 🙂

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