‘I know the origin of where they came from and I’m totally respectful of that.’
When Kim Kardashian stepped out onto the MTV Movie Awards’ red carpet on Saturday, her hairstyle – known as Fulani braids – sparked accusations of cultural appropriation. Now, in an interview with Bustle, Kim has explained her decision to wear the style, which originated in Africa.
“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,” she said.
That’s not a distinctive AA hairstyle with meaning like some other styles, and how is it counter productive if she does it in support of poc.
— Yung thicc (@B_I_G_G_A_Y) June 17, 2018
it’s not cute to appropriate my culture. your privilege is really showing
— aasha (a-ä-sha) ♋️ (@deactivate__me) June 17, 2018
Kim Kardashian in these braids is exhausting. The most annoying part is that at this point she knows what she’s doing, she knows what cultural appropriation is and that it upsets people yet she still chooses to do it because she knows it doesn’t upset the right ppl or cost her $$
— BBQ Sauce (@bigbrownqueer) June 17, 2018
This wasn’t the first time she’s worn the style though. In January, she wore her then-blonde hair in Fulani braids with clear beads and called them “Bo Derek braids,” referring to the white actress who wore them in the 1979 movie 10. However, she says she does understand why so many people found that problematic.
“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,” Kim said. “I’m not tone deaf to where I don’t get it. I do get it.”
She added that she wears the braids to honour the culture that originated the style, and speculated that if she had explained that from the beginning and not given them that name, she wouldn’t have sparked such a controversy.