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When Kendrick Lamar’s video “Humble” was released, it caused quite the discussion, of all types. With lyrics like: “I’m so f*ckin sick and tired of the photoshop. Show me something natural like afro on Richard Pryor. Show me something natural like *ss wit some stretchmarks,” It was certainly different.
There were those who loved it and thought it was revolutionary highlighting a woman with natural features, real hair and stretch marks. Then, there were those who thought that Kendrick, as a man still felt entitled to project his desires onto women. And then, there were those who felt that the lifting up of this particular phenotype, biracial with long wavy hair was extremely trite.
In the midst of all of this, Carter Kim, the 21-year-old the woman who actually starred in the video, has gotten a bit lost in the sauce. But during a recent interview with Elle, Kim spoke about the controversy, the opinions from Black women being a bit hurtful and more.
Elle writes: “Amidst all the buzz around “natural beauty” in “Humble”, Kim has barely been identified by name. Instead, she’s “that ass with stretch marks” or a “sugar brown mama with a Brazilian body wave frontal.”
Kim said, “That part is extremely frustrating. I used to get teased for my hair and told my hair is fake. I’m a little puzzled because a lot of it comes from African American women. I’m just like, why wouldn’t you empower another African American woman who’s just trying to pave the way for her career and also just represent us as women in a music video that has now gone viral. I would just think they would be happy with that, but everyone finds something.”
Despite the lyrics for the video of which she decided to be a part, she doesn’t entirely agree with Kendrick’s opinion.
” I definitely don’t shame anybody who wears them [weaves. I have a lot of people around me who wear hair and wigs and it’s a lot of fun.”
Kim also had a bit to say about her multiracial identity. She said as a multicutural actress, she’s come into contact with producer who’ve had questions. She said she’s “gotten a few different odd responses from black producers, when they’re like, ‘are you just Filipino or are you just Asian?’ A lot of people don’t really see that I am black. It’s been a journey. My mom is full Korean, but she’s adopted, so she’s very Americanized now. I am Korean, French, and African American, and that’s what I am aware of. My dad is black and French. I have gotten denied by some agencies and some projects for either being too multicultural or even being ‘too pretty’ for a role. … I’ve gotten denied for being black a few times. Surprisingly, that has happened and I have gotten ‘not black enough.’”
And as for why she decided to take part in the video, she explained: “They basically told me: ‘You are the natural girl that is represented in 2017 in the society that has a ton of imperfections, but still loves herself and still doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.’ And also: ‘You are the music video girl vixen. You are that very exotic pretty girl that the normal girl transforms into,’” she says. “I was very blind going into it.”
I feel for Kim Carter. It’s a bit of shame that she was dragged into this. But she has to understand that her look, the exotic, Black type is not new when it comes to music videos. And there are scads of other Black identities, dark-skinned, short, kinky-haired Black women, who are left out of that conversation. And perhaps, on set she didn’t get to hear the Richard Pryor fro lyric. Because if she had, she might have understood that her look didn’t exactly match that. And while it’s not her fault that she took a job and got paid, at 21, it’s about time she start recognizing the privilege she wields in her body.
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.