Dr. Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins

historian | sociologist | social epidemiologist

Vice-Provost Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania


Claudia Aderotimi flew from London for a butt-enhancement procedure. She went into a hotel near the Philadelphia airport not knowing that she’d meet an untimely death roughly 12 hours later. Padge-Victoria Windslowe, noted as the Philadelphia Black Madamwas sentenced to at least 10 years after the murder of Aderotimi. In court, the Black Madam said she had safely performed thousands of surgeries since the mid-1990s.

A 20-something-year-old woman who was a “patient” of the Black Madam had the lungs of an 80-year-old because the deadly silicon concoction spread into her lungs. Dr. Paris Butler, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery within the Hospitals at the University of Pennsylvania, was puzzled by his patient’s casual revelation that her condition stemmed from participating in a pumping party.

This patient’s chilling story inspired Dr. Butler to spurn a healthy dialogue about safe and legal plastic surgery among Black women. In Philadelphia, the Black Madam’s pumping party goers paid between $1,500-$2,000 twice a year to have an illegal and deadly mixture of silicone and cement injected into various areas of their body. Most would assume affordability forces people to get these procedures done in a hotel room or, in some cases, a back alley.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, plastic surgery is a $13.5 billion industry with 7.7% of all cosmeticsurgeries being consumed by Black patients. The physician fee for a butt lift, for example, averages $4,910.

Surgery & Hip Hop


Serious community discussions about cosmetic surgery started with the death of Donda West, Kanye West’s mother, after she died of complications from cosmetic surgery. Childish jokes often deride women and girls for wearing weave and having any body enhancement surgery really makes you “fake.” The Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj beef took an interesting turn. In the 7-minute lyrical barrage, Remy Ma held no punches about image, plastic surgery and Black girls:

But you point your fingers at me? I’m the bad girl
When she the one out here misleadin’ the black girls?

All these fake asses influenced by that girl
Dyin’ from botched surgeries—what a sad world!

I think Remy Ma coupled the deaths from hotel procedures and legal cosmetic surgery. Are Black women, in particular, ashamed to talk about surgical body enhancement? Another celebrity also jumped into the plastic surgery fray recently. While I personally think Tyrese should play the “quiet game” when it comes to Black women, he amplifies this inherent thought that body enhancement is a bad thing. He decided to weigh in on his view of “manufactured beauty” in a March 16, 2017 Instagram post that has since been deleted, stating, “If your beauty has been purchased that’s fine…own it, enjoy it…Just know that us REAL ones out here see the REAL…”

Legal Vs. Illegal Cosmetic Surgery


It may seem crazy to you that some women are getting backroom enhancement procedures, but this is a real thing. These procedures are NOT safe. Injecting free-flowing in the body can cause silicosis. According to the American Lung Association, silicosis surfaces when the lungs are exposed to crystalline silica. Underground cosmetic procedures increase the chances of silicon being swept directly into your body’s bloodstream.

Legitimate cosmetic surgery is not bad and never happens outside of hospital. Every Black person who I’ve talked to about cosmetic surgery repeats the same mantras: “Black don’t crack!” or “I’m good with what God gave me!” The Black community largely lambastes the idea of plastic surgery, but can this be a part of the reason many women are seeking underground care?

At the heels of another Black woman’s death due to complications with a Brazilian butt lift, our community must have a deeper conversation about cosmetic surgery. A conversation that does not conflate hotel and hospital procedures. There are some clear differences between the two. Hotel procedures are done in unsterile environments by people who are not clinically trained or licensed.

Contrary to most thoughts, the illegal procedures cost nearly the same price as the surgeries performed by board certified physiciansThe underground cosmetic procedure movement is not as common knowledge as some have asserted. Black women are continuing to suffer the catastrophic consequences of this movement’s nexus: pumping parties.

From BlackDoctor.org: http://blackdoctor.org/513019/black-women-the-deadly-underground-world-of-pumping-parties/



Dr. Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins | 2019