In response to the national (and global) protests that have been taking place in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, on Monday, House and Senate Democrats introduced a police reform legislation. Before revealing the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020”, the lawmakers took a knee during an 8 minute and 46 second moment of silence to honor George Floyd. They did this while wearing stoles made of kente cloth. An act that drew criticism, calling the display performative and “a mess.”

“My ancestors did not invent Kente cloth for them to be worn by publicity (obsessed) politicians as ‘activism’ in 2020,” said Ghanaian-Nigerian researcher at the University of Oxford, Jade Bentil.

Kente cloth originated in present-day Ghana, and has served as a pan-african symbol worn by Black Americans throughout history. From Black college students donning kente cloth stoles at graduation to…

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