IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Travis Kelce responds to the idea that he popularized the fade: ‘Absolutely ridiculous’

"That was just messed up, man," Kelce said. "I don’t want anything to do with that one."

Travis Kelce says when it comes to his hair, anyone not giving credit where it's due can cut it out.

The 34-year-old Kansas City Chief's tight end has been the subject of conversation tied to a recent New York Times article that described a rise in barbershop requests for buzz cut fades, or as the article put it, “the Travis Kelce.” On platforms like TikTok and X, users took issue with how the article overlooked the cut's longtime popularity among various Black communities.

Barber Milagro Leon Rivas working on Jaime Elias, 19 years old, at Chica Sexy in the mission district in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, January 19, 2011. Her clientele are mostly teenage boys and men in their 20's who prefer a fade--hair short on to
Barber Milagro Leon Rivas working in San Francisco. San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst N / San Francisco Chronicle via Gett

"The haircut tens of millions of Black men have been getting since the '80s is apparently now called 'The Travis Kelce,'" one user tweeted. "Happy Black History Month!"

"I'm trying to figure out what Black barbershop you go in and say, 'let me get a Travis Kelce,'" one user quipped in a recent TikTok post.

Kelce shot down any notion of him being the originator of fades in the latest episode of his podcast "New Heights," which released on Feb. 8.

"Yeah, can you guys stop telling people that I invented the fade?" he said. "I didn’t, alright. I walked in a barbershop one day, didn’t even know what I was getting. I didn’t invent the fade."

He also addressed the controversy while speaking with reporters during the Super Bowls' media day. During an interview, the Caps Off Podcast asked the athlete if he agreed with the idea that he invented the look.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. And to do it on February 1, to throw me to the wolves like that,” Kelce said, referring to the start of Black History Month. “That was just messed up, man. I don’t want anything to do with that one.”

“Got a good fade if you need it though. It’s a two on top, a nice high-to-mid fade with a taper on the back,” he continued. “But I didn’t invent that. I just asked for it.”

In 2016, Ebony magazine reported that the style of the cut evolved from the 1940s military grooming requirements. Iconic wearers of the fade have included Will Smith at the start of his "Fresh Prince" era, Grace Jones and Doug E. Fresh.