The progressive Twitterverse is up in arms over Kendall Jenner’s venture into the tequila business. In case you didn’t know, tequila belongs only to Mexico and nobody else is allowed to sell it!
Kendall Jenner told her Instagram followers on Tuesday that she spent the last four years trying to develop the “best tasting tequila.” In her announcement Jenner explained, “after dozens of blind taste tests, trips to our distillery, entering into world tasting competitions anonymously and WINNING (🥳) ..3.5 years later i think we’ve done it! ”
Soon after her Tuesday unveiling her new brand “818,” a social media storm came after Jenner for “cultural appropriation.” What the heck? Many are claiming that tequila is a Mexican cultural drink because in order for the liquor to legally use the name “tequila” it must be produced in Jalisco, Mexico. Apparently, this means that Americans like Jenner do not have the right to profit from selling tequila as it’s not properly “theirs” to sell.
The Twitter mob was quick to judge Jenner on her “culturally appropriated” tequila making but that’s what the trolls do best.
Mexican veterinarian LaMesaQueMasApluada tweeted “Something about Kendall Jenner making tequila rubs me the wrong way..like the idea of white celebrities taking from local Mexican artisans and profiting off our traditions and agricultural business. And not to mention profit off the brown hands that actually plant, grow, harvest ferment and distill the agave plants in Jalisco.”
And not to mention profit off the brown hands that actually plant, grow, harvest ferment and distill the agave plants in Jalisco— LaMesaQueMasApluada (@estyledesma) February 17, 2021
She makes it sound like Jenner bought a distillery and an agave farm and made the producers work for slave labor. In reality, she owns a brand, not the whole operation. ‘818’ is just one of 67 brands made by the same distillery, all of which profit from the paid people who work there.
Some are upset about Jenner’s speculated use of her Calabasas area code, 818 for the name of her brand because it does not represent the poorer population who also live there.
It could have been any other white woman from a wealthy area profiting off of Latinx culture. My point is they claim the 818 when it benefits them, but do they claim what’s real? Do they even know that the 818 has some of the poorest cities in LA? 15 miles NE of Calabasas?— Jennie Molina (@jenjocelyn) February 17, 2021
In a TikTok video, Brazilian liquor influencer Lucas Assis claimed Jenner’s ignorance amounts to cultural appropriation. As evidence, he cited 818’s label. “It says ‘Blanco Tequila’, no it’s ‘Tequila Blanco,’” he said. He goes on to complain about how Jenner drinks her tequila saying, “obviously she doesn't know anything about tequila. For real, like she was trying this tequila on the rocks with small ice cubes. That's just not how you try tequila."
Maybe Jenner doesn’t know much about tequila. So what? Ignorant celebrities branding something they enjoy but know almost nothing about is far from news. Take Kendall’s sister Kylie for example. Based on her lack of formal science training, Kylie likely knows nothing about the science of skincare product formulation, yet nobody cared when she put out a skincare line in 2019.
Ironically, Kendall isn’t even the first American celebrity to come out with a tequila brand. In 2013 George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman came out with a tequila brand called ‘Casamigos’ and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Nick Jonas, and Sammy Hagar all have their own tequila brands as well. No one cared when these wealthy celebrities, who likely know little about the culture and making of tequila, began branding tequila. So why are people so invested in condemning Jenner’s 818?
If Kendall’s tequila brand is truly cultural appropriation wouldn’t Taco Bell, Taco John’s, Chipotle and every Tex Mex restaurant also qualify? Where’s the outrage for these instances of “cultural appropriation?” Maybe millionaires spike more jealousy than a chain of restaurants run by average Joe’s.
It seems the trolls only come out to play when it suits them because honestly, most people don’t have the time and energy to be the woke police when they could be kicking back with a shot of tequila instead.