Everything But The Burden. When Non-Black Women Imitate Fetishistic Images of Black Women.

Jean Paul Goude, Kim Kardashian

Note: This post has been updated to identify the image as Carolina Beaumont.

I usually don’t pay much attention to anything Kardashian related, no shade, just not a fan, but then yesterday happened.

With the help of Paper Magazine and famed photographer Jean Paul Goude, Kim Kardashian set out to #breaktheinternet with a set of images that were all about her most famous asset. The most promoted image was a recreation of a classic image Goude had taken of Carolina Beaumont (not Grace Jones as some have misstated) in the 1970’s. The second image was a gratuitous butt shot, crack and all.

I’m hardly shocked, my internet definitely didn’t break. Instead what caught my interest was the photographer and the image that they chose to recreate.

Jean Paul Goude, the photographer who has graced us with some of the most beautiful, timeless images of Grace Jones, among other black models, has a catalog of problematic images of black women that spans decades.

To see such images recreated by a non-black woman reeks of minstrelsy. It’s also an example of the fascination that non-black people have with the alleged allure of the black body, where they seek to imitate it, and to use it, but do so in a manner that allows them to retain their privilege.

While Kim was trying to shock us shock us shock us with that deviant behavior, her sister was pretty busy on Instagram.

Jean Paul Goude, Kim Kardashian

For someone who claims she “never thought much” about race, Kim seems to be swimming in racially-charged innuendo. Much of her public image is built on appealing to the black hetero male gaze while presenting herself as an oddity of sorts to a mainstream (white) audience, seeking to keep their attention by shocking them and entertaining them with her bold, brazen, imitation blackness. They get to gawk at and ridicule a “black” body without being accused of racism.

Odds are Kanye also had a hand in this. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen one of his ladies attempting to recreate a Jean Paul Goude image . Which well, that’s a whole ‘nother conversation, or is it?

Jean Paul Goude, Kim Kardashian

In a sense, Kim Kardashian pulled a “Miley,” she used blackness and black stereotypes to generate controversy and promote herself. But unlike Miley, she’ll probably never claim ownership of her deeds, instead I anticipate her falling back on colorblind clueless if she ever chooses to respond to criticism.