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: