A Wednesday night, during a dinner date with procrastination
Scrolling through YouTube aimlessly when a Buzzfeed video
in my recommended reads, “People Try Kylie Jenner’s Ramen.”
Nose upturned in typical disgust at the mention of this name,
I click, all annoyance and no curiosity.
Rich white girl turns poverty meals “gourmet”
Gets applause at her creativity and “chef skills”
Gets article in Cosmo and Teen Vogue
I sit at home,
Wonder why white people imitate my struggle
Like it’s fun, like it’s a fad.
Wonder if they go out in hordes,
think it exciting,
and snatch the bottom-shelf ramen with greedy, manicured hands,
exclaiming to their friends who look exactly like them
“Look how cheap it is, it’s such a steal!”
They gather in their homes,
the ones built on the bones of bodies like mine
and re-watch the video carefully as if Kylie is their messiah,
their patron saint of appropriation.
So, they sit,
the first one to try hides slight disgust,
fakes enthusiasm as she silver spoons the noodles into her mouth
and after a quick and tidy chew, manifests a tight-lipped smile,
and a “yasss!”
And I sit, still hungry, on the other side of town;
my neighborhood too black, too hard for them to hide their hatred here,
too much work to gentrify just yet.
But it begins nonetheless,
and the out-of-place Coldstone down the street being built
marks the beginning of their sickness spreading
This is not new,
not the first time Kylie has co-opted something not hers for fun;
familiar is the way she feasts upon my culture.
Thinks she can call herself colored
because she is bathed in spray-tan
and has a black boyfriend.
But for all it is worth,
Kylie can have the ramen,
can have her layers and layers of seven shades too-dark foundation,
lip injections and extensions,
Can have her hunger for being a black girl
because it’s “cute” when she does it, right?
Her ass implants and “boxer-braids” five seconds from slipping are so in-style
because a black body is a “must-have.”
So, I may go to bed hungry
but at least I go to bed black
and when I wake up in the morning,
it hasn’t worn off.
Jahleelah, 17, is an activist, artist and poet who also created the art for this piece. They will be attending Sarah Lawrence College in the fall.
Want more poetry? Want to share yours?
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