Congressional Democrats wore stoles made of Kente cloth during a moment of silence for George Floyd, drawing criticism from observers who felt they made the traditional African textile into a political prop.
About two dozen Democratic lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds at the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall as a tribute to Floyd on Monday. Most of them were seen wearing Kente cloths during the moment of silence as well as during a subsequent news conference.
The wearing of the Kente cloths drew criticism from a University of Oxford researcher who saw the move as performative.
“My ancestors did not invent Kente cloth for them to be worn by publicity (obsessed) politicians as ‘activism’ in 2020,” Jade Bentil, a Ghanaian-Nigerian researcher at University of Oxford, tweeted.