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…

Leave a Reply

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

Notify of
avatar
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.

Nickel

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

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 »
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 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 »
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!?!

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 :)

wpDiscuz