(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US Democrats Wear Kente Cloth to Present Police Reform Bill—The Internet Reacts
What was the reason?
On Monday morning top US Democrats introduced a police reform bill in response to nationwide protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black people at the hands of police.
Before presenting the bill, several officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as Corey Booker and Kamala Harris knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, in a clear tribute to the life of George Floydwho died after a police officer knelt on his neck for that exact amount of time.
What everyone seems to be less clear on however, is why they decided to do so while wearing kente cloth stoles.
Since videos showing the Democratic leaders donning kente began circulating online, the internet has been ablaze with hilarious responses to their unprovoked "fashion statement." So much so, that the word "kente" began trending on Twitter shortly after.
While the politicians may have felt they were thoughtfully acknowledging Black heritage, the move came off instead as an empty gesture and was quite frankly—corny.
As fashion historian Shelby Ivey Christie points out via Twitter, the use of kente cloth is "protected as an expression of folklore" according to Ghana's Copyright Act of 2005. It's use by politicians during a press conference as a form of intentionally conspicuous "activism" hardly feels as though it falls into any of the categories authorized for intellectual property use. Instead of representing the culture through kente cloth, they've done more to undermine it by ignoring its intended cultural use.
While many Black people are advocating for the complete defunding and abolishment of the police as an institution, the Democrats proposed bill would "make dramatic changes to police policy across the country and undo decades-old laws," according to Politico.But for many, mere "reform" of the existing police force, feels unsubstantial considering the violence police have wreaked on Black lives for centuries.
While advocates continue to push for more radical action to be taken in order to upend current systems, the kente cloth faux pas has led to hilarious jokes at a time when we could all use a laugh. Enjoy some remarks below.
From Your Site Articles
- Abolish the Police, Now! - OkayAfrica ›
- South Africans Angered by Police Killings of Black People During ... ›
- Police Brutality and the Conditions of Black Citizenship - OkayAfrica ›
- Interview with Assa Traoré, Leader of 'Justice for Adama' - OkayAfrica ›
- African Writers Show Solidarity with Protesting Americans in Open ... ›
- No Longer Will I Partake in Black Trauma Porn - OkayAfrica ›
- The First Nigerian-American Has Been Elected into US Congress - OkayAfrica ›
- VP Kamala Harris Signals US Should Invest in Africa - OkayAfrica ›
- Preserving Tradition: Kente Weaving in Togo - Okayplayer ›