Jordan Fobbs

California, USA

Get Out by Jordan Fobbs
16"x20"; watercolor paint, charcoal, canvas paper, magazine; 2021

Jordan Fobbs had been searching for one discipline in which to combine art, research, and their social justice interests—a pursuit made imperative by the culture shock of their personal experience with anti-Blackness at a predominantly white university, combined with revelations regarding their gender identity. Collage provided the medium by which to use their voice through art. They began to experiment with work that intermingled and juxtaposed historical and contemporary political figures, in order to portray the significance of collective actions, whether for negative or positive ends. “This is intended to highlight movements and people that have been historically unacknowledged, and critique others whose violent acts haven’t been exposed.”

Fobbs’ piece Get Out shifts their focus from overtly political figures to critiquing those in pop culture who are often inadvertently political, and can drive a social narrative. “This piece is a critique of the Kardashians’ fetishization and exploitation of the Black body, and how they appropriate it as a means to gain fame, attention, and controversy… [It] focuses on two main ideas—their highly publicized fetishization of Black men, and their perverted appropriation of aesthetics pioneered by Black women… [There] is a centuries-long history of dehumanizing portrayals of Black men and women, where their bodies are reduced to sexualized features, constructing them as lustful and hypersexualized…In the case of Black men, this manifested in exaggerated representations of their penises, otherwise known as the ‘big black cock’ stereotype, which was presented aside the myth that they were hypersexual and ruthlessly pursued white women…The Kardashian sisters have made headlines for their disturbing pattern of dating Black men and making sexual comments about them, while routinely ‘blackfishing’ —wearing long acylic nails, braids, and heavily tanning their skin to crudely mimic Black women…In addition, Black women have had their bodies policed for possessing the same protective hairstyles and curvaceous features that white women like the Kardashians are often celebrated for appropriating.

“I wanted this piece to reflect the distorted image that the Kardashians produce in my mind, the sense of dread and wickedness that this family’s deliberate exploitation of Blackness makes me feel. I put together the house scene by merging features of Kim and Kanye’s Calabasas mansion with the house from Jordan Peele’s Get Out, as I find that the Kardashians and the family featured in the film share many of the same tactics for beguiling Black people.”