Kim Kardashian is an influential person with millions of followers on her social media platforms. Whatsoever she does, she intentionally or unintentionally makes it a trend. She is no stranger to cultural appropriation which comes as no surprise when she once faced backlash for wearing cornrows with many claiming that she is normalizing white women wearing braids that originated in Africa. Not just the SKIMS founder, the Kardashians have often been called out for imitating features of people of color.
A Brief Note on Kim Kardashian’s Cornrows Controversy
The 41-year-old Kim Kardashian had often faced criticism of cultural appropriation in the past for her hairstyles though it had less effect on the socialite.
In 2018, she became the center of public attention by posting a video on Snapchat wearing cornrows finishing the ends with beads. In the video, she stated, “So guys, I did ‘Bo Derek’ braids, and I’m really into it.”
For the unversed, Bo Derek is an American actress who is recognized as one of the first white folks for culturally appropriate braids when she wore them in the 1979 film 10, popularizing them among white folks.
The socialite received criticism for the same while many pointed out that the hairstyle originated from the community of people of color.
Not long after that, she again made her public appearance wearing Fulani braids to the MTV Movie & TV Awards the same year. Not just that, she also posted a snap of herself wearing the hairstyle with a caption, “Hi, can I get zero f***s please, thanks,” ignoring the backlash she received for her decision.
The Dr. Phil Show Addressing Cultural Appropriation By Kim Kardashian
On Friday, the American daytime talk show, The Dr. Phil Show addressed cultural appropriation and how “White supremacy is embedded in everything.” During the conversation, they discussed past controversies against Kardashian including wearing cornrows. The People of color were called “unprofessional” when they wore it despite white folks wearing them becoming “cool.”
The speaker starts sharing how it was unfair for the socialite to wear that hairstyle as women of color “have historically been called ghetto for having cornbread, as that is one of the staple styles in our culture.” Dr. Phil asks the audience, “Kim Kardashian is part Armenian. Is it okay for her to wear cornrows?” One of the people from the audience, Brittany Rose, starts by stating the reason why some people of color are offended by white folks wearing braids by stating,
“Black women are getting fired from the jobs who are in braids. We are called ghetto. We are not seen as professional with our natural cultural hairstyles. They are part of black culture. And then when white women wear them, they are glorified, praise, and even sometimes have the credit attributed to them.”
She added by stating that one can’t speak on behalf of the “entire black culture” to whether they are offended by something particular. Unapologetic Live host, Amala Ekpunobi came forward stating it was fine that the socialite wore the hairstyle adding, “I do think Imitating is flattery she didn’t step up and say that she’s invented the hairstyle.”
Rose answered, “If people attribute that to her, that’s something that you do on an individual basis. I feel like it’s important to understand the difference between imitating and actually appropriate.” Explaining more on her concept, she stated, “Appropriating is when you are copying being something of a culture that is not yours and it’s inappropriate. You are disrespecting the boundary that that culture has set.”
Ekpunobi questioned whether she as “a biracial, half black woman,” confronts the Kardashian stating that she is fine with her wearing the braids by adding that she doesn’t have a boundary. Rose replied by reminding her of countless discrimination people of color faced over the years for the same so that would be inappropriate to ignore many who have/had been struggling with this issue.