Recently, globally popular singer Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty fashion show took place and it did not take long for it to spark a debate online about cultural appropriation after the models’ hairs were seen styled into braids, a style that usually Black women used.
The show was screened last week, on Friday, on Amazon Prime, and soon enough, viewers expressed their discomfort at witnessing white models, including Emily Ratajkowski and Vanessa Hudgens, sporting braids of the style that is usually used by Black people.
One user on Twitter, Dylan Ali, tweeted that they had needed a “trigger warning” for watching non-Black models in braids.
I love the fenty show but I think we deserved a trigger warning for seeing this many white women in braids
— Dylan Ali (@dylanali_) September 24, 2021
St Clair Detrick-Jules, the author of My Beautiful Black Hair, stated that it was exhausting to see how the show’s producers willfully chose to ignore easily accessible information online regarding cultural appropriation and going ahead with hairstyles like these.
Netizens have been trying to pinpoint the origins of braids, in the midst of which Detrick-Jules said that she thinks that due to too many myths and misinformation being spread around, cultural appropriation continued to exist. She said, “Braids, like other Black hairstyles, are reflective of culture.”
This isn’t the first time a non-Black celebrity has been criticized for sporting such a hairstyle. Last year, Selena Gomez received backlash after she appeared on Interview magazine’s cover, her hair styled in braids. Both Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian have also been called out more than once for “blackfishing”.
Detrick-Jules further went on to say that that it was clear the United States had been miseducated about Black history. “They don’t understand that, for us, Black hair is Black history,” she said.
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