You may remember when Kim Kardashian angered the Black community (once again) by posting a photo of herself back in February on Snapchat in blonde Fulani braids, a hairstyle that she called her “Bo Derek” braids. Well, after the backlash of her crediting a white woman for a Black hairstyle (we’ll address that momentarily), Kim is sticking by her statement, calling it an “appreciation” for the style.
In a recent interview with Elle, the controversial picture was brought up, to which Kim replied that she was, indeed, not worried about what people thought. “I’m not worried, because I love Bo Derek,” she said. “It’s a reference. If you genuinely love something, then it’s what you should do. It’s appreciation.” Her justification, stated in the interview, was that it wasn’t appropriative because she wasn’t being “negative.”
She added: “It’s one thing when people mock something and are negative. I’m clearly not being negative. Images mean a lot to me. I spend a lot of time on them.”
The constant contentious relationship of Kim Kardashian and the Black community is one that, personally, I don’t understand. It seems that because she’s ‘shaped’ like a Black woman, has a Black husband, and has Black children, people give her a pass in making rookie mistakes when it comes to cultural appropriation and dismissiveness of a culture. The problem is the benefitting that comes from a hairstyle, or a body shape, or a look, for one culture when it is blasphemed on the originators. Bo Derek was not the first person to wear Fulani braids (as she even stated), but was probably the first white woman mainstream American saw wear it. And though we’d love to saw that even Bo Derek wasn’t problematic because of the citation of African origin for the style, even she has had issues being dismissive of hair as a serious point of discussion. Lest we forget when Derek said in an interview with The Cut: “It’s a hairdo! That’s all it is. No, seriously, of all the important racial and cultural issues we have right now, people are going to focus on a hairstyle? No, no. I’ll save my efforts toward important racial and cultural issues.”
So no, Kim, we’re not saying it’s an appreciation post, and honestly, it’s tiring that you keep getting to do things that others wouldn’t even be given a second chance for. Stop stealing from the culture and just credit your inspiration properly. So. Simple.