A Play Critic Just Got Dragged For Comparing Sarah Baartman to Kim Kardashian

The tragic and historical story of Baartman was just compared to an attention-hungry reality star. Needless to say, people are not happy. 
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When playwright Suzan-Lori Parks wrote “Venus,” she did not have Kim Kardashian in mind. Despite the tragic story of Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman — a South African woman whose body made her the centerpiece of a traveling circus — a New York Times critic drew a comparison to the reality star. “Attention, please, those of you whose greatest ambition is to acquire the traffic-stopping body of Kim Kardashian” Ben Brantley begins his review. “There is a less drastic alternative to costly and dangerous buttocks implants.” The sarcastic tone, we guess, was suppose to draw a light-hearted comparison to the Kardashian. Brantley goes on to say, “It’s also worth noting that ‘Venus’ now has a visual relevance that could scarcely have been foreseen 20 years ago. To contemporary eyes, Ms. Jah’s artificial figure doesn’t look all that different from the bodies of celebrity goddesses who populate People and The Daily Mail wearing second-skin dresses. One hopes that these women own their bodies — and their images — in a way that was tragically denied Saartjie Baartman.” Soon after the implicitly bias review — that essentially suggested the African woman’s body only now has relevancy because of Instagram models— was written and tweeted out, people responded with scathing comments. “Sarah Baartman was born w/her body,” said NuNu Wako on Twitter. “She was forced to show it off. She didn’t alter her body to look like another ethnic group for attention.” Social media is awesome, because the clap back is real and quick. The underlying problem is that the focus of the review was on the modern context of plastic surgery, when it should have been the tragedy in mocking and appropriating African aesthetic for financial gain. And while the NY Times has yet to adjust or take down Brantley’s questionable review, we can hold steady in knowing who Parks writes her plays for. “I’ve said I write plays because I love Black people,” the talent said in an interview with BOMB Magazine. “I just figured it out fairly recently. Not that I had any other reason before that, but I realized why I want black people on stage—because I love them. And it probably sounds very vague, but it’s true.”