Keeping up with the Kardashians' cultural appropriation is becoming quite the task. It seems like every day there's a new problematic look in that family.
Most recently, Kim Kardashian West decided to rock Fulani braids to the 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards. Obviously, her choice in hairstyle quickly caused controversy.
People aren't just pissed because she chose to braid her hair. It's more than that. They're frustrated by Kim's apparent disregard for the origin of the braids — she previously referred to them as "Bo Derek" braids — and the fact that when a Kardashian wears them they're deemed "cool" while they're considered "unkempt" or "unprofessional" when a black woman does. For the record, Fulani braids are a distinctive black hairstyle and originated in West Africa. Bo Derek, a white actress, wore them for a role in the film 10.
Many fans and critics have long wondered if Kim is just incredibly obtuse or purposefully ignoring the outcries of cultural appropriation. After all, this is FAR from the first time this has happened.
Well, we finally know the answer, as she spoke to Bustle recently to set the record straight.
"I actually didn't see backlash. I actually did that look because North said she wanted braids and asked if I would do them with her. So we braided her hair and then we braided my hair," Kardashian West explained. It's worth noting that North West, Kardashian West's 5-year-old daughter, has not been shown with this hairstyle. In fact, a few days prior, KKW was also criticized for straightening her daughter's hair. So, there's that.
Apparently, she gets why people are pissed, though, and she chocks it up to her misattribution to the braided style in the past.
"I [do] remember the backlash when I had the blonde hair and that I called them 'Bo Derek braids.' But I obviously know they're called Fulani braids and I know the origin of where they came from and I'm totally respectful of that. I'm not tone deaf to where I don't get it. I do get it," she explained. "Maybe if I had come out and explained that from the beginning instead of calling them 'Bo Derek braids,' then it wouldn't have gotten such backlash. But in no way am I ever trying to disrespect anyone's culture by wearing braids. If anything, my daughter was so excited to see me get matching braids with her. [When] we did her hair in these braids, she was so excited."
So, in a nutshell: when Kim wears the style, it's with respect to the origin of Fulani braids and a way of honoring her 5-year-old daughter's biracial hair. Ok.
Her response to the criticism was met with, you guessed it, even more criticism on Twitter! However, others seemed to understand where she was coming from.
But when it all comes down to it, maybe we should just follow this guy's advice:
Kim Kardashian West and her sisters have been sparking cultural controversy for years. It's just out of hand at this point. Let's take a stroll down cultural appropriation lane, shall we?