Model Salem Mitchell wasn’t here for the hater and clapped back at an Instagram commenter who took aim at her natural looking by calling her “ghetto.”
After Vogue posted her photo on their Instagram page, Mitchell got a lot of praise for posing in a bright red bikini, while basking in the sun face-freshed with her freckles poppin’ and her long braids laying on one shoulder.
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Some commenters replied with positive words like: “You’re radiant!” and “Freckles on point” while some haters took time out of their miserables lives to throw shade at a stranger. Mitchell flipped the script and hit back about the hypocrisy of Black women wearing natural styles and getting hated for it while white women (like Kim Kardashian) engage in cultural appropriation and are called trendsetters for it.
The Informative Clapback
“Everything about what I look like is considered ‘trendy’ in the media and in fashion right now. The freckles, the braids, the big lips, etc. But on a Black woman it’s ghetto for NO reason and we’re tired of it,” Mitchell replied.
Mitchell opened up to Teen Vogue, about why it was important to address the hateration.
“I wanted to speak out on this particular comment because it was completely discriminatory [and] completely racist,” she said.
“It wasn’t, ‘I think she’s ugly’ or ‘I don’t like this photo.’ It was, ‘By looking at this woman the first way I can describe her is by calling her a ghetto person.’ Calling me ghetto or any black woman ghetto based on a photo is so dismissive of who we are as people, what we’ve accomplished, and how we carry ourselves.”
Mitchell continued, “Cultural appropriation is an important topic because Black and brown people are constantly demonized for their appearance, their hair, the way they dress, their use of slang, and other characteristics when in reality everything that we’re doing has set a blueprint for the culture we see today. Another thing people don’t understand is cultural appropriation is not about not wanting to share things with others — it’s not about wanting to take ownership over certain styles and deciding who gets to wear what. It’s about Black and brown people not receiving the same human respect simply because of their appearance when white people are praised for it.”
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Using Her Platform for Progress
The braids Mitchell wears and got slammed for, are praised on someone like Kardashian who got a lesson in cultural appropriation this year for wearing cornrows and attributing the style to 70s star Bo Derek (aka another white woman).
“Black women are constantly stereotyped in public and even in the workplace, and it needs to stop,” Salem says.
“It takes conversations, [and] it takes sticking up for ourselves and one another to make the progress. I have a platform of over 200,000 people, and to be able to have a conversation with that large of an audience [means] we can potentially move closer to progress.”
“It’s really important to speak up when the issues are probably affecting more than just me,” she says. “When people make negative comments about freckles, I speak up because although I’m confident, other young girls with freckles might see those nasty comments and feel bad about their own skin. When people say ignorant things like the ‘ghetto’ comment, I speak up because I know other girls are hearing [it] in their own lives too. Overall it’s best to save your energy and speak up when you know it’ll benefit more than just your own ego.”