We live in two Americas, and in the one I live in, I’m officially done with the polarizing love affair with Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. Not because it’s tainting the way I watch football, not because they’re weaved within the storyline of the NFL currently, even into the Super Bowl, but because popular media outlets are claiming they popularized Black cultural staples.
To The New York Times: shame on you! In a recent article titled: “They’ll Take The Travis Kelce – Hairdo, That Is,” the fade is now attributed as popular due to Travis Kelce. The publication claims, “Barbers in America and abroad are being inundated with requests for “the Travis Kelce.”
Does it come with a Taylor Swift to take home with you after you leave the barber chair? Last I checked, fades were a stable item in the Black community and came in various textures, lengths, and kinky sizes. The fact that white people are getting hip to the fade, according to NYT, because Travis Kelce is dating someone super famous is weird.
From Boosie and Webbie to Big Daddy Kane to anyone in the NFL in the nineties, the fade is nothing new, nor is it a “Traylor” relationship phenomenon.
“My issue isn’t with Travis Kelce because he didn’t write this story nor has he ever claimed to invent this particular haircut,” journalist Jemele Hill posted on ‘X.’. “My issue is with the NYT for giving zero cultural context and failing to explain that fades have been popular for a very long time and it has a significant connection to Black culture.”
I will admit, I was on the Kelce-Swift bandwagon for, if nothing else, happy to see the professional sportsman version of a construction worker bag a billion-dollar singer. These are the things that dreams are truly made of.
However, just because Taylor Swift has brought an estimated $331 million of value to the NFL with her mere presence, does not mean she invented everything culturally cool.
Am I the only one who peeps all the Black guys around Taylor when she is in the Chief’s sky box? I figured they were her producers, fresh off the “PJ” or private jet they took to the game from the recording studio. They are the secret sauce she carries in her bag, like Hillary Clinton’s hot sauce.
Then The Sporting News headline, “What Is Swag Surfin? Everything to know about Chiefs’ viral dance celebration as Taylor Swift and Donna Kelce participate.”
This one is truly out of line.
As a proud HBCU graduate who has been swag surfin’ at every game and Homecoming Yard activity since Fast Life Yungstaz dropped the song in 2009, I am offended. There are cultural traditions that have miraculously transcended time, socioeconomic status, and industry and swag surfing’ is definitely one of them.
Travis and Taylor are not invited to the cookout and Black people can’t help it if others don’t tap in with Black culture until someone of another race brings it to the forefront. Problem is, once that happens, mainstream media has a bad habit of developing a narrative that they invented the cookout and the kick back.