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

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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 »

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

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 his… 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 about… 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 »
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 »

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