Ever since people took the streets to protest the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless others, we’ve seen A LOT of white people and mainstream brands show their support for #BlackLivesMatter.
Whether it’s with a black box or a fist in the air or making a large donation to Black organizations, it cannot be denied that unexpected folks are showing up. But more often than not, this current act of solidarity can be met with a lot of side-eye, especially when folks, like the NFL that blackballed Colin Kaepernick for taking the very stand they claim to be making now, all of a sudden want to get in formation.
Well today, it was the Democrats’ turn to show a grand gesture by rocking kente cloth while taking a knee in Capitol Hill.
According to the Hill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with about two dozen other lawmakers including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and California Sen. Kamala Harris, “knelt in the Capitol Visitor Center before holding a press conference to unveil their legislation in response to almost two weeks of nationwide protests over police brutality toward African Americans.”
We are here to honor George Floyd,” Pelosi, rocking a kente cloth mask and scarf, said before the nearly nine-minute moment of silence began.
They kneeled on the ground to mark the amount of time that charged Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin shoved his knee on Floyd’s neck, killing him on Memorial Day.
Now, I love the symbolism (sort-of), but I have a few questions.
First, why are y’all wearing kente cloth? Yes, the cloth that originated from Ghana and plenty of African-Americans love to rock a kente cloth accessory here and there, but as fashion historian Shelby Ivey Christie pointed out, this traditional cloth shouldn’t be used as a “prop” to alleviate some type of white liberal guilt.
Secondly, do you same Democrats have any plans on passing legislation to better the lives of Black folks? OK, so, yes, you have the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, but does it talk about defunding the police, a move many advocates are calling for?
No? OK then.
Obviously, I wasn’t the only one perplexed by this recent display, because kente cloth was trending on social media. Here’s the best of what Black Twitter had to say:
What if they, like, just passed some laws instead of dressing up like a Wakandan chess set? pic.twitter.com/F3d2YDjNRW— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) June 8, 2020
I’m thinking about Nancy Pelosi in the mirror fixing her kente scarf and i am crying 😂😂😂— No 🔑 No 🧀 (@bitcoinzay) June 8, 2020
Cory Booker said, nah, I’m not wearing this fake ass kente cloth scarf. I respect this move. https://t.co/K7m2Ke55eN— zakiyyah alexander (@zakiyyahwashere) June 8, 2020
😂😂😂😂😂😂 just pass some legislation dawg. Aint nobody ask y’all to buy Kente cloth scarves and kneel lol https://t.co/Av9to2pU4k— Christian Harrison 🏁 (@_ChristianCash) June 8, 2020
it’s the kente scarves for me 😭 i bet the pr team saw black panther once and was like yep this is the move https://t.co/tOlD5vvRbE— CHITTAPHON BIRTH (@ungodlyukhei) June 8, 2020
not Kente scarves ?????? like ????????? pic.twitter.com/4jI9zIXTrV— 🍏🍓🍇 simply, aghast. (@Aqua_or_Bob) June 8, 2020
I'm confused as to what them wearing Kente scarves is to represent pic.twitter.com/rVmPlu1PsG— L•Áine•Máire💗🇯🇲🇮🇪 (@sexcii_bunny88) June 8, 2020
after this symbolic gesture, every last one of these Democrats will tell you to go vote for the author of the 94 crime bill and the man that said he feared desegregation would mean his children would grow up in a “racial jungle” https://t.co/UXnrlOGQXT— Petty Is Praxis (@rtyson82) June 8, 2020
I know we are in unexpected times and anything is possible but listen man I did not have "Pelosi in Kente cloth" on the bingo card— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) June 8, 2020
Laawwwwddd they trying y’all.... and at least someone’s cousin got sales from the Kente cloth....I’m the one standing with my bad knees... https://t.co/WqySXeMmwe— Loni Love (@LoniLove) June 8, 2020
White people are doing the most while still somehow refusing to do the bare minimum.— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) June 8, 2020
The Kente cloth has sent me to the upper room.
Exhibit A: pic.twitter.com/bDJQHycges
Who was intern that said, "You know what'll drill home the point? KENTE CLOTH." https://t.co/jTmoLeyKhl— Justin Tinsley (@JustinTinsley) June 8, 2020
I am not sure what’s funnier, those ridiculous politicians wearing kente cloth or Cory Booker smartly opting out of that absurd performance.— roxane gay (@rgay) June 8, 2020
The black intern pressing “purchase” on the kente cloth order pic.twitter.com/FtqiDOJGeU— Hoekage View-Nah (@Mr_DePHInition) June 8, 2020
I don't even wanna ask why Nancy nthem have on kente cloth. Nope.— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) June 8, 2020
Folks are kneeling in kente cloth and NO ONE on their teams said, “You know what? Let’s not.”— Preston Mitchum (@PrestonMitchum) June 8, 2020