Hmm… though this may be a very unpopular opinion I hate Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” video. I also kind of hate the song too… but not really 100% all of the way. (Girl what…) Yeah I know… that was a confusing statement and I hope by the end of this post I have cleared it up substantially.

I’m not a huge Kendrick Lamar fan… however I give credit when credit is due. He is a dope rapper, his music is 9/10 good. However … Kendrick Lamar’s new track “Humble” is problematic for me… and again I speak only for myself, so over the top Kendrick fans whether male or female please take a seat.

Humble By Kendrick Lamar Is Problematic And Here’s Why

The line in question that has everyone in a tizzy goes as follows:

I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks
Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in Polo socks, ayy

While many have glorified Kendrick’s lyrics as pro feminist and so forward thinking…I kindly beg to differ. There’s nothing revolutionary about a man telling a woman how to look. It surely isn’t pro feminist to tell me your preferences right before you take me down. Because the truth of the matter is 1. I don’t care what your sexual preference is, I am not living for you and 2. Your “pro feminist/ pro natural” spiel is divisive. Can we compliment women as a whole without putting down any one particular group? Is that something that is possible in 2017… or are the only means of compliments tied to “one is better than the other”.

Now don’t get me wrong… I know hip hop has never really leaned towards the idea of respecting women as a whole. Misogyny runs rampant, so it is no surprise. Rap music has been taking jabs at women for as long as I can remember and I shamelessly shake my ass to these tracks as well.  So I am certainly in no position to judge. “Humble” is a good song when taken at face value. It has a good beat, the production of that video was stellar, and the lyrics can actually be understood (guess who is absolutely NOT here for mumble rap… THIS GIRL!). But to make “Humble” more than what it is, is insulting. It is not a feminist anthem, and I don’t recall Kendrick ever stating it was. I, for one, believe that the attraction and attention towards these particular lyrics is so far beyond unwarranted it is ridiculous.

These particular lyrics did nothing new, and neither did the video.  Because the lyrics and video are not deemed “distasteful” they are propelled into this forward thinking category, when in reality they offered nothing out of the ordinary.  We have a woman shaking her ass on camera… how unique. Then we are offered the image that Kendrick wants to see… but what about the women that don’t fit into that category either? “Humble” has no different ulterior motive, it is a song. It is no different than any other man, rapping over a beat, telling women how he wants her to look. So while I can’t get on board with the praise this track is getting for this particular set of lyrics, I will say Kendrick has done another captivating job at getting a conversation going around his music. Well played! You can watch the video for yourself below and form your own opinions. I always welcome a healthy dose of conversation in the comment box below!

Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.

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2 Responses to Humble By Kendrick Lamar Is Problematic And Here’s Why

  1. well said. I love the visuals of the vid and the song is pretty good to me. As far as the verse that has gotten so much attention, i really think people are in uproar because:

    A. There was a visual to go with the lyrics for our first time hearing them and its a tad contradictory. K. Dot claims he wants to see an afro like richard pryor’s but the woman in the vid has a wet and wavy type texture. I guess the twitter fems wanted to see a darker complected woman with a literal afro. I do admit, when guys claim they want us to not cake on the makeup and wear our natural hair, a certain type of natural beauty is accepted. They’re not willing to accept the dark marks, the blackhead scars, the undereye bags some of us may have and claim that our makeup is “tricking them” to believe we’re beautiful. So i do agree with the argument that the visuals don’t match the lyrics. As for the ass shaking, that’s hip hop for you, this isn’t new. Kendrick isn’t our savior and it’s stupid to place him on such a high pedestal as if he asked to be that. His discography has been told us that he has issues with women so I really don’t see why there’s a huge backlash.

    B. We expect these conscious rappers to give a damn about women’s rights. Don’t know why but i’ve noticed that some of us that dub ourselves as feminists correlate these “woke bae” males with pro feminism. That’s not the case. Let’s not forget that the beloved J.Cole has contributed a lot to the BLM movement, raps in an aware tone on his songs and speaks on injustices to the black community, yet his No Role Modelz song puts women in two categories: The hoes and the respectful women and the hoes don’t deserve “saving” or respect. I think once we accept the fact that a conscious man doesn’t mean a pro feminism man, we won’t be so offended when we realize he’s sleep when it’s time to be woke for women. Conscious black men have put their masculinity first then their race second, dating way back to the black panther party and unfortunately black women have put our race first then our gender rights last. You have to be for yourself first before anyone can be for you.

    Claiming a man is a “woke bae” or being happy with him stating facts about women’s rights, just like women have for years, is equivalent to expecting a white person who supports BLM to call out their fellow white counterparts on their bs and being disappointed when they don’t. Stop relying on those outside of the group you’re fighting for to be the voice for you. Period.

  2. I may be wrong but my interpretation is that I shouldn’t allow beauty enhancers to convince me that my natural state isn’t good enough. Photoshop and filters undoubtedly promote perfection and through conditioning, we come to accept flawlessness as the standard. I am appreciative of his lyrics no matter how much controversy came about. Idk the full dynamic of Kendrick and his SO’s relationship, but judging by the pics they have released, he definitely practices what he preaches. Not downplaying her looks, but she reminds me of myself, my girlfriends, my classmates; a lady I would see in real life. & I think he was only speaking for himself even though many men share these sentiments. Unobtainable beauty standards have females compromising their morals everyday and it’s good to know at least one guy doesn’t mind me in my morning glow and ever transitioning skin. Then again, I find it disgusting that many influential female artists have convinced ladies that it’s ok to be called the b-word as long as it’s endearing.