Kim Kardashian West Says She Got "Bo Derek Braids," But Twitter Says It's Cultural Appropriation
Celebrities are people, and people make mistakes. But it's important that they learn from them — especially if that "mistake" involves cultural appropriation. From stars wearing appropriative dress for Halloween to celebs rocking hairstyles co-opted from other cultures, we've seen it all. Unfortunately, Kim Kardashian West's "Bo Derek braids" are just the latest celebrity style to draw criticism — and it isn't anything new for Kimmy.
In a Snapchat chat video, Kardashian West can be seen riding in a car and talking about her newly minted "Bo Derek braids" and how much she loves them. The reality television star then cuts to what appears to be a photo shoot where she sits on a bed with a landline based phone in front of a mirror with her new braids on full display.
Cue internet freak out.
Judging by the Twitter reactions to Kardashian's braids, there appear to be not one but two points of contention for members of the Black community. First, the braids are not actually "Bo Derek" braids at all. In fact, actress Bo Derek has long been accused of appropriating Fulani braids for her role in the film 10. However, upon being asked about the style in 2015, Derek dismissed the calls of appropriation, essentially say they were unimportant.
Cultural appropriation, however, is important — and according to Twitter users, Kardashian West hasn't just appropriated a black hairstyle, but she's given credit to a white woman for it. Needless to say, people are not pleased.
Unfortunately, there is a history of the Kardashians and Jenners not acknowledging that their choice in hairstyles as appropriative.
In 2016, Kardashian commonly wore what were called "boxer braids." These, however are braids that are common among black women and have existed long before they were given the moniker of "boxer braids."
According to Teen Vogue, black model Leonie Anderson reportedly spoke out at the time remarking on the fact that crediting Kardashian with the style is insulting. And she wasn't the only one to speak up about the incident.
Her "boxer braids" of 2016 aren't the only time she's appropriated corn rows, though. Back in 2013, Kardashian wore the same beaded style from her recent Snapchat and posted the image to Instagram. Again, she called the style "Bo Derek braids."
As for Kardashian, she never commented on the braids. And now, more accusations of appropriation are coming her way.
This Twitter user points out that this isn't the first time Kardashian West or a member of her family have been accused of appropriating black culture.
Some online are convinced that the family knows what they're doing and simply don't seem to care.
The criticism does seem to be two-fold. Her assertion that the braids are from Bo Derek, and the fact that she's actually wearing them to begin with.
Some users took the time to explain what the braids actually are, while calling out Kardashian for giving credit for the style to a white actress.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that cultural appropriation has had to be explained to a member of the family. When Kylie Jenner wore corn rows on her Instagram, a fan commented #whitegirlsdoitbetter. Actor and activist Amandla Stenberg commented on the post pointing out that Jenner will appropriate black styles but does not speak out regarding police brutality or racism.
Stenberg's comment came after her power video called "Don't Cash Crop My Cornrow," which beautifully explains why cultural appropriation matters.
Clearly, Kardashian's "Bo Derek braids" are a moment to reflect on how black style and culture are co-opted by white women. It's also an opportunity to question why historically black hairstyles "chic" or "cool" when a white woman decides it is.
Cultural appropriation has always been wrong, and having a history of it certainly doesn't reflect well. Hopefully this will be a learning moment for Kardashian — finally.