But look closer and you’ll start to notice Chyna everywhere: dancing in rap videos, sitting courtside at NBA games, making appearances on your favorite reality show, in the pews at the biggest celebrity wedding of the decade. And so the Kardashians, a family often accused of stealing black men, black features, and black culture, got beat at their own game by a black woman.
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The fact that Chyna chose to avoid that particular route speaks to her foresight: She could have easily been on a number of We TV and/or VH1 reality shows if she wanted to, but she had her eyes set on a different prize.
Born Angela Renée White on May 11, 1988, Chyna was raised in Maryland before moving to Miami to attend Johnson & Wales University.
To quote actor Amandla Stenberg, they “cash cropped” our cornrows.
So when Chyna, an actual black woman, decided to not only get a slice but come for the entire Kardashian pie, those watching couldn’t help but cheer as she swooped in.
It is a phenomenon people of color, especially black people, have seen occur again and again throughout the years: When white people discover black cultural markers, the same look that had been popular within an ethnic culture for decades (or even hundreds of years) is suddenly “a new trend.” The pattern of “Columbusing” isn’t unique to the Kardashians, but the extent to which the family has profited from it is remarkable.
This element of cultural appropriation in the Kardashians’ style has left many feeling like they created an empire using things that don’t belong to them.
That also meant exclusivity was essential: “If you wanted to see me strip, you had to come to where we were to see it.”This shrewd attention to the duo’s branding also explains why Chyna was so upset when World Star Hip Hop put a video on its website of her stripping at a DJ Khaled party at KOD back in 2011.
“We [Chyna and her manager] have told them in the past that I don’t want anything to do with being a World Star Hip-Hop honey.
Hell, they’ve even convinced us to pay to watch them on their apps as they do things like get their makeup applied. ) all while earning hundreds of thousands in sponsorship revenue.
And that doesn’t even include the things they’ve convinced followers to buy (waist trainers?! It’s what puts them at the top of every social media metric and on Forbes lists; it’s what gets them into the Met Gala and on the covers of Vogue; it’s what makes them the rulers of Westeros.
But eventually, she left school and started modeling for men's magazines and stripping full-time at clubs like D.