Bo Derek Weighed In On Kim K's Braids & Twitter Isn't Having The Response
Kim Kardashian West — and her hair — is no stranger to controversy or charges of cultural appropriation. The newest controversy stems from a series of photos showing Kardashian lounging around a hotel room in a thong and thermal, her platinum hair styled in what she called "Bo Derek braids." In one of her photo captions, she simply wrote, "Bo West," and then on Snapchat she specifically called them "Bo Derek braids." In case you aren't familiar, "Bo Derek braids" references a hairstyle white actress Bo Derek famously wore in the 1979 film 10.
The internet was quick to call her out for what they viewed as cultural appropriation: The braids, people pointed out, may have been worn by Derek in the 1979 film 10, but they're actually Fulani braids, which is a hairstyle black women have worn for hundreds of years. Now, Bo Derek is giving her opinion on the controversy. And Twitter isn't happy with the response.
In a tweet about Kardashian's hairstyle, Derek wrote, "Hey! It’s just a hairstyle that I wore in the movie 10. @KimKardashian calls it the Bo Derek because she copied my pattern of braids. I copied it from Ann-Margret’s backup singer from her Vegas Sho. And we all copied Queen Nofretari. I hope Her Royal Highness is flattered."
As many Twitter users have pointed out after Derek's comments, people often defend cultural appropriation by saying that imitation is a form of flattery, and those who take from cultures are just appreciating their aesthetics. But, as Twitter users continued to comment, looking at appropriation this way ignores power dynamics, stigma, and cultural authenticity around black hair.
There are a wealth of studies that have proven that black women with natural hair experience bias in the workplace, like the woman who was offered a job at a firm with the condition that she cut off her dreadlocks first. Yet, as members of the black community have pointed out, when white people wear the same styles, they are seen as "edgy" and "fashion forward," which is positive and championed.
Appropriation is bad. But, according to Twitter users, giving credit to a white woman for your appropriated hairstyle is worse. Many slammed Kardashian for crediting a white woman for the hairstyle, which [effectively]arguably erased black women from the style completely.
People on Twitter cited her other moments of appropriation by the Kardashian-Jenner family in their criticisms, and how Kardashian seems to make it worse by not crediting women of color.
Some people wondered if she's just trolling fans on purpose, especially considering how many times she has been called out, educated, and asked to stop. Others speculated that Kim K might want to make news in any way possible because she just released a new perfume called Kimoji Heart Fragrance on Feb 1.
Some commenters said they don't mind when white women wear traditionally black hairstyles. But they do have an issue with the hairstyle's origin and culture being erased in the process.
But one thing is for sure. everyone seemed to agree Bo Derek's comments didn't help the situation.
Like, at all.
One can hope that with the "Bo Derek" backlash, Kardashian — and Derek — will listen to why so many people are "sensitive" over cultural appropriation. Only time will tell.