Travis Kelce doesn’t want any smoke with the culture during Black History Month. Heading into the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs star clarified his position on the controversy surrounding his fade haircut.

“These headlines are wild,” Kelce said. “The fade has been around long before my life even began.”

Kelce broke his silence after Shannon Sharpe and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson picked apart the controversial New York Times article that credited the football star for originating the fade haircut. The two former football players discussed the barber blunder on their Nightcap podcast. The headline of the article in question was, “They’ll Take the Travis Klece-Hairdo That Is.” After providing insight into the article, Sharpe expressed his disbelief at the unwarranted credit to his co-host.

“Ocho, I’ve been getting a fade since 86,” he said.

Ochocinco attempted to make sense of it all. “Wait, he don’t have a fade, he got a buzz cut. Like when you go to the Army bro, how bro.”

Sharpe shook his head in confusion before posing a question to the outlet. “So, New York Times, so that’s how you start Black History? Giving Trav — and that’s my nephew — you gonna give him credit for the fade? We’ve been seeing the fade for years!”


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A post shared by Nightcap (@nightcapshow_)

After the clip was uploaded to the Nightcap account, the comments were pretty clear on Klece’s “not making the cut” as the hairstyle’s originator.

One follower said, “That’s what happens when you keep inviting people to the cookout….now they want to own the grill🫠😒”

Another thinks they may be giving flowers to the wrong person. “Boosie been had the fade on lock 😂I been gettin a Boosie fade since I was 13 lmao.”

As the comments on the video began to heat up, Kelce jumped in, directing everyone’s astonishment back to the wild headlines. This headline about the tight end’s cut isn’t the first that had Black people up in arms. Blavity previously covered the shock surrounding the New York Post’s Jan. 30 headline, where they claimed Kelce’s haircut was causing barbershops to be bombarded.

They posted the article on X, previously known as Twitter. “The ‘Travis Kelce’ haircut is taking barbershops by storm: They ‘think they’ll get a new girlfriend.”

The usually credible news source was met with instant backlash after the cultural tone-deaf headline spread on social media.

“That’s called a buzz cut and it has been an extremely popular hairstyle for men for like… a century,” one X user said.

“The Marines have done it for 100 years,” another person said.

Blavity shared the history of the fade via The style resulted from military members wanting a clean look during the 1940s and ’50s. The cut made its way off the military bases into the Black community, which revised it into the “bald fade” and solidified its way into the culture. New York City-based master barber Greg Cooper Spencer told how prominent Black leaders and hip-hop culture contributed to the evolution of the haircut.

“Hip-hop impacted the way we dressed and how we wore our hair, especially. Before this period, we relied heavily on Black leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, who sported afros, to influence how we engaged in society in addition to our look,” Spencer said.

He added, “Just as hip-hop emerged, so did the artists who made sure their hair and wardrobe stood out, along with their music.”

What do you think? Is Travis Kelce’s fade just a cut, or is it cultural appropriation?