Listen. Cornrows, box braids, Bantu knots, Senegalese twists, dookie braids and anything else requiring finger coordination to create a weaved hairstyle is and will always be of the Diaspora. It’s not a rumor, it’s a fact. And these hairstyles are certainly not “new”.
So it’s clearly understandable why Black women would be livid every time Susie-Come-Lately is embracing a hairstyle that women of color have been rocking for CENTURIES. Literally. Like Cleopatra (note: also a Black woman) wore twist outs.
But here comes MTV UK, being ignorant and uninformed as ever in a post that has people upset.
Referencing the cornrows Kim Kardashian West has been wearing for weeks now, they break down what they call “boxer braids”. “Whether you’re off down the gym or need a casual but polished day to night style, meet your new favourite hair do: boxer braids,” they say.
Then –because this is a service piece– they give step-by-step instructions on how to achieve the style also made “famous” by Katy Perry, Kylie Jenner, Hailey Baldwin and Perrie Edwards.
If this was the first time this has happened, it’d be excusable. If it was the second, it may be understandable. But this has got to be the 1000th time a major publication [or celebrity] has appropriated something that is historically Black and given it relevancy to White people by labeling it as a new phenomenon.
Christopher Columbus-ing Black culture is wrong for so many reasons– as we’ve noted multiple times. But what hurts the most is that a lot of the things being stolen and misrepresented were traits Black women were chastised by in the past.
No one was called Queen Latifah fashionable or gorgeous when she rocked the same braids Kimmy K’s been rocking, as Cleo in Set it Off.
Actress and activist Amandala Sternberg addressed this her July 2015 criticism of Kylie Jenner’s exaggerated features. “Black features are beautiful,” she said in the open letter. “Black women are not. White women are paragons of virtue and desire. Black women are objects of fetishism and brutality –this appears to be the mentality surrounding black femininity and beauty in a society built upon Eurocentric beauty standards.”
At some point this has to stop. Either a mass education needs to be had or these mainstream outlets need to hire Black folks who won’t make them look so silly.
In the meantime White girls: Pick up the encyclopedia. Or better yet, the latest issue of Hype Hair, before professing something as new.