When will the Kardashian-Jenner family stop appropriating black hairstyles?
Both have faced heat for wearing hairstyles like bantu knots and cornrows before. Back in 2015, Jenner was publicly called out for flaunting her hair in cornrows on Instagram, with Amandla Stenberg blasting her in the comments with a simple: "When you appropriate black features and culture but fail to use your position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards your wigs instead of police brutality or racism."
But rather than learning from that incident, Jenner continued to post photos of herself on Instagram wearing cornrows every few months, while never acknowledging the style or its history in black culture. And that only sparked a larger conversation online with people asking the question: "Is it ever OK for a white person to wear cornrows?"
Khloé Kardashian has also faced her fair share of criticism for putting her hair in styles that are typically associated with black culture, first sporting cornrows in an Instagram post in 2014 and then again in early 2016. When she posted the picture yesterday on Twitter, she called herself a "Bantu babe," before quickly changing the caption.
"I saw that 'Bantu Babe' nonsense before she deleted it," Michael Arceneaux, author of a recent Complex article titled "No, We Aren't Overreacting to Cultural Appropriation," said in an interview. "My thing with them is at this point, it's just like trolling black people. White girls should at least acknowledge where they get it from. None of those Kardashians ever have. Ever. Ever."
Clearly, people are eager to have a discussion on what exactly is wrong with women like Kardashian and Jenner wearing their hair in these styles — and they're taking to Twitter to really talk it out.
On one side of the argument are the people who are sick of this one family donning hairstyles from black culture again and again and... again, and never crediting where the styles came from. At this point, it's a family affair.
"She is once again blatantly not giving credit for her so-called 'trends,'" Twitter user @smallbellybella said in an interview. "Bantu knots were originally created so they'd be kept in overnight by black women to create curls. It's just annoying to see them be used as a trend with no credit."
And on the other side of this discussion are the people who are apparently sick of hearing the cultural appropriation argument entirely.
You may or may not agree with the criticisms, but Khloé Kardashian and Kylie Jenner's decision to don hairstyles without reference to where they found them has a long and sordid history.
"In the case of the Kardashians, now that they're wearing the cornrows, I personally think it's more of a cultural appropriation," Rajni Jacques, an editorial creative director, said in an interview. "I feel like it takes away from people who have always done this. That was who we are as a people, and that is part of our culture. You can't just erase what it was. It's forgetting what it came from. For me, as a young girl, it was just part of life, or when my mom didn't feel like doing my hair."
Given their massive fanbase, their fashion choices have implications, like when they wear cornrows, many of their followers think it's a new cute trend. And one reason they do think that is because the family never bothers to explain the history or importance of these hairstyles to their followers. Already on Us Weekly, Kylie Jenner's red braids are being called "birthday braids."
Even more than that, the family has a history of trying to actually rebrand things like cornrows into something else. After Kim Kardashian wore cornrows in early 2016, she posted a tutorial on her website and called them "KKW Signature Braids."
So, why this lack of cultural sensitivity?
Now that three members of the Kardashian and Jenner family have publicly worn hairstyles that are an important part of black culture within the week (Kim Kardashian West Snapchatted a video of herself wearing cornrows five days ago), the real question may be: Why are they actually doing this? And, are they actually trolling?
However, whether or not the family is trolling America with each passing day, one thing is for certain: Some of the people who come from the culture that created cornrows, and grew up with bantu knots, don't feel comfortable.
Shouldn't that be enough for these women, with their massive fanbases and undeniable cultural influence, to cut it out, and give credit where credit is due?