When Kayla Newman was 17 she made up the phrase “on fleek” in a Vine video she posted under the name Peaches Monroee.
Almost three years later, Newman is now hoping to turn her influence into dollar signs after watching The Kardashians, Taco Bell and countless others profit by borrowing her phrase.
Sunday, Peaches posted a GoFundMe link on her Twitter page asking for donations to help her start a business. “Everyone has used the phrase/word but I haven’t received any money behind it or recognition,” she explained in the post, which is aiming to raise $10,000. “I want to start a cosmetic line and hair line; But I don’t have any money to do so. Maybe this can help me with my wishes and dreams.”
Newman, who reps the Chicago suburbs, revealed that she is currently studying nursing in her GoFundMe post. It’s clear that she’s also been paying attention to pop culture as her unexpected contribution become a hot point in the debate about appropriation in the social media age.
Peaches’ fellow social media users have supported her claim to ownership of the word “fleek,” but without a copyright all the credit she’s received is relatively worthless. Newman’s gotten props in write-ups from Newsweek and Complex, who rushed to decode and contextualize “on fleek” as it spread rapidly through mainstream America. Senator Bernie Sanders even used the term while campaigning for presidents, clumsily claiming that’s his plans for criminal justice reform were “on fleek.”
Still, Newman never appeared on Ellen, like the “Damn Daniel” boys, and she received no checks from Nicki Minaj or any of the other celebrities and brands who borrowed her words for their own promotion.
Will this end as another sad story of appropriation? Or will Peaches Monroe receive her just due for showing the world how to stay on fleek?
Share your thoughts @GlobalGrind and consider making your own contribution if you’ve ever found yourself feeling fleeky.
PHOTO: Republic Records