Save for a few noteworthy occasions, I try and stay out of the business of writing about anything related to the family Kardashian. Not just because there are more important things going on in the world (because pop culture commentary is actually a fantastic, digestible way to unpack meaningful issues), but also because I don’t like what they represent and I prefer not to think about them. Khloe Kardashian’s attempt at ‘reading’ Amber Rose—as sad as watching the best hooper on an 8th grade squad play 1-on-1 with LeBron—highlighted why that is: a group of wealthy women who made an empire based on appearing vapid, shallow and perpetually sexy, all the while pretending that they are some how better than other women who sell the image of sex? I’ll pass on that, forever.
However, it’s difficult for me to be silent when a relationship between a teenaged girl and a grown man—someone’s father, at that—is being normalized, especially when other little girls are watching this paring play out and take notes. I don’t want my little girl or anyone else’s looking at Tyga and Kylie, be they ‘just friends’ or otherwise, and thinking it’s acceptable.
I recall hearing some months ago that Kyle Jenner kicked it for her 17th birthday with Tyga, Chris Brown and Trey Songz and thinking, “What in the hell is going on?” What parents would ever, in a million years go for this? Alas, this is the mystical land of Kardashia, where everyone is for sale, and existing through the lense of deluxe Instagram filters and paparazzi photos running on blogs the family is rumored to keep on retainer.
As the rumors persisted, it started to look like Tyga was participating in a behavior that we can find in both hoods (such as the fast food parking lots that R. Kelly terrorized in 1990s Chicago) and elite spaces (hello Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld) across the country. Yet another gross grown man choosing to be enamored by a ‘hot’ young girl, as opposed to the many adult women who’d be more than happy to ignore his reptilian appearance because he’s got coins. How dreadful and, in the state in which they live, illegal if they are, in fact, having sex.
(Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)
When Drake took a shot at Tyga last week (“Need to act your age, not your girl’s age,”) the possibility that we have a Pied Piper of Hip-Pop seemed even more likely. Amber Rose’s appearance on Power 105.1/Revolt’s The Breakfast Club took the rumors up another notch, forcing the rapper to join the show himself the next day to defend himself in an interview that would go down in history with R. Kelly’s “When you say ‘teenage,’ how old we talking” sit-down with Touré, were Tyga more famous.
For how dishonest his defense of his ‘innocent’ relationship with the 17-year-old sounded, equally troubling is Tyga’s assertion that there is some great difference in the capability of Blacks and Whites to have friendships:
“In Black culture it’s different. If you hang around somebody you’re smashing them, White people, White culture, it’s different. They really friends. It’s genuine, it’s different. How we think is a little different with our mentality.”
It’s hard to understand exactly what he’s trying to say here, because his word choices are so awkward. Does he mean that White people know how to really be friends in ways that Black people don’t? Are white folks better at being platonic friends across gender lines? Wouldn’t a 26-year-old who was falsely accused of dating a teenager state, unequivocally “I AM NOT DATING A LITTLE GIRL, THAT IS DISGUSTING, WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?”
YOU ARE NOT TELLING ME THAT WHITE PEOPLE THINK IT’S OKAY FOR 26-YEAR-OLD MEN AND 17-YEAR-OLD GIRLS TO BE FRIENDS, TYGA, THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU ARE TELLING ME. There are still communities in this country where you’d get strung up on a tree for such a relationship even if you were the same age, so please spare me your pathetic attempts at critical race theory.
This isn’t a Black/White thing, this is a Hollywood/Kardashian thing that would not play out with parents who aren’t permissive to the point of neglect—this same child dropped out of home school to focus on her “career!” Perhaps Black people have been more vocal in calling this relationship out for what it is—inappropriate—but when White gossip rags routinely run pictures of people who barely know each other with the suggestion that they must be sleeping together, please don’t tell me that our paler countrymen are simply better equipped at managing friendships.
Tyga, your boo is 17. Don’t preach to us about friendship when you don’t have a friend on this planet worth a damn. Please don’t ever attempt to speak on behalf of The Blacks ever again. You are excommunicated. You are banished from the palace. Your group of origin is now “The Creeps,” and you can’t sit with anyone else until you reconcile the wrongness of hanging out with someone who is still going through puberty and make better choices.
Jamilah Lemieux is EBONY.com’s Senior Editor, and her future 17-year-old will not have 26-year-old friends. Views expressed here are her own.