Kylie and Kendall Jenner have been no stranger to controversy. Even when the sisters market something as innocuous as lip gloss, there seems to be major push back against their actions. And now, the sisters have found themselves in another controversy regarding their fashion line.
Recently, the Jenner sisters released a collection of T-shirts for their Kendall+Kylie clothing line. The collection, entitled "Rap vs. Rock," features Grayscale images of - what else - rappers and rockers with the colorful faces of Kendall and Kylie or the letters "KK" super imposed over the Grayscale images. Some of the rockers and rappers used include Ozzy Osbourne, Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac.
Voletta Wallace, the mother of Notorious B.I.G. (aka Christopher Wallace), was outraged. Wallace claimed that the Jenner sisters used Notorious B.I.G.'s likeness without receiving permission from the late rapper's estate. Wow!
Wallace posted a statement on Instagram regarding the shirts. “I am not sure who told @kyliejenner and @kendalljenner that they had the right to do this. The disrespect of these girls to not even reach out to me or anyone connected to the estate baffles me. I have no idea why they feel they can exploit the deaths of 2pac and my Son Christopher to sell a t-shirt. This is disrespectful , disgusting, and exploitation at its worst!!!” wrote Wallace.
Wallace wasn't the only person who was upset with the clothing line. Ozzy Osbourne's wife, Sharon Osbourne, tweeted her anger at the girls. “Girls, you haven’t earned the right to put your face with musical icons. Stick to what you know…lip gloss," said Osbourne. Her husband's likeness was also used in the clothing collection.
The Jenner sisters insisted that they were torn up over the events and issued a statement. “These designs were not well thought out and we deeply apologize to anyone that has been upset and/or offended, especially to the families of the artists. We are huge fans of their music and it was not our intention to disrespect these cultural icons in anyway," said the statement. “We will use this as an opportunity to learn from these mistakes and again, we are very sorry."
However, Notorious B.I.G.'s estate said that the apology was not enough. “While we appreciate that the Jenners have made an apology and pulled the unlawful and unauthorized items, this matter has yet to be resolved," said the estate in a statement.
Being accused of appropriating black culture is not a new experience for the Jenner sisters. Kylie has styled her hair in cornrows on multiple occasions. She has referred the hairstyle "birthday braids," a label that has offended many.
Recently, Kendall received criticism for starring in a Pepsi ad that was called “unspeakably tone-deaf.” The ad featured Kendall walking through a protest. In order to break the tension between the protesters and the police, Kendall offered a police officer a cold can of Pepsi. Problem solved! The ad was criticized for "appropriating serious political and social-justice movements to sell soda.”
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position," said Pepsi in a statement. But did the apology make up for the ad?
The Jenner sisters have been called out on social media for their cultural appropriation.
“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,” said Sleepy Hollow actress Amandla Stenberg on Twitter.
Some people want to see the Jenner sisters give credit where credit is due. “Given the massive social platforms of the sisters, it would be great to see some type of acknowledgment of where they’re taking the styles from. Yes, they are great hair looks to wear, but give true acknowledgement as to where they come from — especially when other people’s race and culture is involved.” said Andrea Arterbery in a Teen Vogue article entitled "Why the Kardashian-Jenner's Hairstyles are Cultural Appropriation."
One would hope that the Jenner sisters would learn from their mistakes. However, since the girls continue to receive backlash for their actions, this doesn't seem to be the case. What will they appropriate next?