Travis Kelce Shoots Down Claims He ‘Invented’ Popular Hairstyle
The New York Times came under fire last week after publishing an article suggesting that barbers are being inundated with requests for “the Travis Kelce,” arguing that “not since Jennifer Aniston has a haircut become so popular.” While Kelce’s popularity is undeniable and he could be influencing some men’s grooming habits, the hairstyle sported by 34-year-old Chiefs tight end has been around for decades, largely in the Black community. And to make matters worse, the unfortunate timing of the piece also coincided with the start of Black History Month.
But the last person who wanted to be dragged into the discourse was Kelce himself, who shut down the insinuation that he is somehow responsible for the fade during a pre-Super Bowl press conference on Monday night.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. And to do it on February 1, to throw me to the wolves like that? That was messed up, man,” Kelce said, incredulously. “I don’t want anything to do with that one. I got a good fade if you need one, though. It’s a two on top, a nice high to mid-fade with a taper in the back, but I didn’t invent that, I just asked for it.”
Travis Kelce confirms he did not invent the taper fade.
— Vegas Sports Today (@VegasSportsTD) February 6, 2024
But Kelce wasn’t the only one to speak out against his apparent ownership of the fade. After the article was published, former ESPN personality Jemele Hill and Fox Sports host Shannon Sharpe both spoke out against the lofty claim.
“The NYT thinks that Travis Kelce invented the fade, Hill wrote in a since-deleted social media post. “When you have zero cultural competency on your staff, this is how you end up with stories like this.”
Sharpe, on the other hand, addressed the controversy in a segment called “Did the Fade Just Get Gentrified?” on his Nightcap podcast that he co-hosts with former NFL star Chad Ochocinco.
— Nightcap (@NightcapShow_) February 2, 2024
“The New York Times began Black History Month by referring to the fade as the Travis Kelce,” Sharpe said last Friday. “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? I’ve been getting the fade since ’86!”
“I’m trying to figure out what Black barbershop you go in and say, ‘Let me get a Travis Kelce,'” he quipped. “That barber gonna look at you like, ‘What? A who!'”
Fades trace their origin to military haircuts in the 1940s, and have been a staple of Black barbershops for many decades. The haircut has become more fashionable for men of all races outside military service in recent years. So while Travis might be inspiring some trips to the barber, he’s certainly not breaking new ground.