Entertainment

We’re Pretty Dang Sure That When It Comes To Black Culture Kendall Jenner Does Not Care If You Think She’s Stealing It

It’s nothing new that the Kardashian’s love to appropriate Black culture.

From hairstyles to fashion choices, white women have always benefited from ripping off black culture and while they keep getting called out — maybe even canceled — it still doesn’t stop anyone who isn’t non-black to keep on appropriating. From Kary Perry rocking her “baby hairs” dubbing it a “new trend,” to Kylie Jenner wearing her hair in dreadlocks then in cornrows, to Miley Cyrus also wearing dreadlocks, and to magazine’s giving white women afro tutorials, the list of misses are endless. 

And the Kardashian-Jenner clan is no stranger to being called out for cultural appropriation. Every other week or month or so, the Kardashian-Jenner sisters make headlines for yet again another case of cultural appropriation. The latest? Kendall Jenner was spotted wearing cornrow braids (again) and people weren’t happy about it.

According to PEOPLE magazine, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star and model was photographed wearing cornrow braids on August 23 in Los Angeles.

“She was also seen wearing the style, traditionally tied to black culture, in several Instagram Stories that next day, shared both to her page and sister Kylie Jenner’s page,” reports PEOPLE.

This isn’t the first time Kendall Jenner has made headlines when it comes to making problematic and questionable choices. Remember that Pepsi commercial? 

People on social media have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts about Jenner wearing braids. 

A Twitter user said she was exhausted of white people, women specifically, constantly appropriating black culture and wearing hairstyles “that we are always ridiculed/chastised for having and just doing it because they want to ‘look different’ or ‘stand out.'” User @tinaallamm went on to say that black women wear these types of hairstyles to “PROTECT our natural hair from damages” meanwhile white women simply wear them to look cool and aren’t scrutinized in the same ways. 

(Photo Credit by US Magazine

Another Twitter user said the Kardashian family just “loves to use black culture to their benefit it’s disgusting.” 

The Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s family has constantly been criticized for thriving off of black culture and rarely giving credit where credit is due. 

PEOPLE reached out to Jenner’s rep but they did not immediately respond to the publication’s request for comment. As aforementioned, this also isn’t the first time the Kardashian-Jenner sisters have faced backlash after wearing cornrows or other protective hairstyles for black women. 

Last year, Kim Kardashian West was under fire for wearing cornrow braids, referred by the Kardashian-West sister as “boxer braids,” at the MTV Movie and TV Awards.

(Photo Credit: Allure)

However, this wasn’t the first or the last time she would be caught rocking cornrow braids. She then dyed her hair/braids blonde and posted numerous Instagram Stories flaunting the hairstyle even amid the social media backlash. First, she made it clear she didn’t care about the negative feedback but as always, Kim caved and somewhat apologized. 

I’ve definitely had my fair share of backlash when I’ve worn braids,” the KUWTK star said at BeautyCon in Los Angeles last year. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel around the world and see so many different cultures that have so many different beauty trends.” 

Kim Kardashian-West has also recently been criticized for her decision to trademark and name her new line of shapewear, “Kimono.” After the social media backlash, she opted for “the less culturally inappropriate Skims instead,” AdAge reports

Back in 2016, the “self-made billionaire” Kylie Jenner also took to Instagram to show off her cornrow braids and once she even wore her hair in dreadlocks.

(Photo Credit: Kylie Jenner Instagram)

After donning the hairstyle, actor Amandla Stenberg made sure to comment on her photo and make her opinion known. Stenberg commented on Kylie’s photo back in 2015-16 that “when you appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards your wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdobetter.” 

While it seems as though Kylie Jenner never addressed the backlash then, she’s perhaps learned from that mistake since she hasn’t been seen wearing that hairstyle again. But the same cannot be said for her sisters. 

Ultimately, it’s important for women as powerful and influential as the Kardashian-Jenner clan to learn from their mistakes and address the backlash head-on. It’s irresponsible and hurtful to the black community to go around parading themselves in hairstyles inclusive to black women. Culture isn’t something you can put on and then take off whenever it feels convenient to you, and this family has the privilege of being able to pick and choose when they can try on someone else’s culture. 

This Business Woman Knows How Hard It Is To Get Proper Haircare Being Latina —So She Opened Her Salon And Fixed It

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This Business Woman Knows How Hard It Is To Get Proper Haircare Being Latina —So She Opened Her Salon And Fixed It

themodlabb / Instagram

I don’t know about you, but I have definitely dropped hundreds of dollars on haircuts and color treatments at boujee hair salons, in hopes of attaining a honey caramel ombré on my coarse, dark mane —courtesy of my Latina DNA. Most of them played out as horror stories. More often than not I’ve walked out of a salon with brittle, over-processed, damaged hair after too many hours with foils in it, because “Your hair is so thick! let’s wait a little longer.” After too many failed attempts that made my hair look orange rather than ‘caramel’, I gave up on coloring my locks with technicians who didn’t know how to work with hair like mine. That’s why when I heard that there’s a Chicana out there cutting and coloring hair of every texture; my damaged mane and I, almost booked a trip to Dallas.

The Latinx community is obsessed with beauty, yet the industry does not cater to our needs.

twitter @esmeerubio

We all know that the beauty industry has rarely catered to women of color. Which is a huge paradox if you think of it because, it’s common knowledge that there is an undeniable obsession with beauty amongst the Latinx community. A study in 2015 called Hispanic women “the foundation for beauty sales” because it found that beauty sales increased by 8 percent among Hispanics, while it dropped almost 2 percent among non-Hispanics. Likewise, skincare and hair care increased within the Hispanic community and dropped among non-Hispanics. 

The study also found that Hispanics were spending approximately $44 on a single product, while non-Hispanics were spending almost half that price for a similar product. These numbers make it pretty clear that we have the spending power —and the need for beauty is obviously there, so why are so few brands, technicians, and businesses betting on us?

Jessica saw a gap in the market and —thankfully for us— she decided to act on it.

instagram @jakethegreat_88

Jessica “Jake” Tafoya, is the entrepeneur behind The Mod + Body Labb, a  salon that takes care of the skin and hair of women of color in Dallas. And not only does she cater to every hair texture, length and color that walks through her doors, most importantly she builds upon what her Mexican family taught her by creating an atmosphere for other women of color to feel welcome and taken care of —hallelujah!

Tafoya dreamt of opening her own beauty business years before she actually took the leap of faith and opened it.

instagram @jakethegreat_88

The gap of time between dreaming about opening her business and actually opening it, is just one of the things she credits for helping her build a business worthy of her dreams. Tafoya also credits her Latinidad, taking pride in it and embracing it, is what helped her get to where she is now. 

“I embrace my Latinidad as my identity and additional fuel to give me the strength to overcome every failure and detour set on my path,” explains Tafoya in an interview with Forbes. “Through the close bond of my family, I have been able to remain challenged and fully determined to reach my goals. Our culture is one to celebrate and learn from as we carry certain characteristics that will help us flourish from both a personal and career perspective.” 

Jessica “Jake” Tafoya is now a full fledged businesswoman who empowers and celebrates beauty.

instagram @themodlabb

Jake now has three salons for skin and hair, offering a full-service beauty experience for women of color in Dallas, TX. “I saw a significant gap within the beauty industry and wanted to create an environment where we celebrate every hair texture and skin tone while empowering the multifaceted woman,” shares Tafoya. 

‘We strive to give our guests a place where they feel welcome and where their needs are understood and met. We encourage each one of our customers to strive for self love, to feel confident and love who they see beyond their reflection in the mirror.” 

At Mod Labb, you can get all done up with services that cater to your specific hair texture and skin tone.

instagram @lissluvshair

Mod Labb offers curl cuts and hair extensions in addition to all other hair services while the Body Labb is all about skincare and cosmetic services including brow shaping and makeup. “As part Native American and Latina, my hair texture and skin tone is unique. It had always been difficult to find a professional skilled enough to know how to cater to my long, coarse hair and olive skin,” shared Tafoya. “After a couple of years of experience under my belt, I decided to transform that gap into an opportunity and create my business.”

Tafoya doesn’t only cater to people of color, she makes sure to put her money were her mouth is, and employs only people of color, too. 

instagram @themodlabb

The Mod Labb started as a 400 square-foot space that she opened three years after graduating from hair school in 2010 with only two employees at just 25 years old. She later opened the Body Labb across the street and now she’s opening the Mod + Body Labb in Arlington in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Not only does Tafoya cater to people with hair like hers, what’s more,100 percent of her staff is made up of people of color. This gesture is more profound than the average salon goer might realize when women of color continuously struggle to find adept stylists.

Visit The Modd Lab at 1316 West Davis Street and The Body Lab at 1319 West Davis Street, open everyday from 9am to 9pm.

‘Tribal,’‘Boho,’ ‘Mexican-Inspired,’ And ‘Exotic’ Are Fashion Cues For Cultural Appropriation—Here Are Some Examples

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‘Tribal,’‘Boho,’ ‘Mexican-Inspired,’ And ‘Exotic’ Are Fashion Cues For Cultural Appropriation—Here Are Some Examples

Taking inspiration from other cultures has been a trend in the fashion world since time immemorial. Cultural elements can often be found on the runway, “re-interpreted” by the fashion designer’s understanding of the culture she or he’s drawing inspiration from. From Geisha-inspired makeup and kimonos, to “tribal” and Navajo-esque designs, every fashion house has taken images or elements from other cultures to let their creativity run amok. 

Taking or wearing things from a culture that is not your own —especially without crediting or showing respect to the people it belongs to, is appropriation, not appreciation.

instagram @dsquared2

The simplification of a culture and even the violation of a minority group’s intellectual property rights are among some of the serious issues involved around cultural appropriation —not to mention the perpetuation of stereotypes and just the plain disrespect. We went ahead and put together a list of instances in which the dominant cultures in the fashion industry have taken the liberty of “re-imagining” and drawing inspiration from minority cultures for their own gain, just to set a “trend.”

1. Victoria’s Secret misusing War Bonnets —apologizing for it, then doing it again. SMH.

In 2017, Victoria’s Secret sent a white model down the runway in their version of an American Indian War Bonnet. The incident happened 5 years after top model Karlie Kloss famously wore another insensitive “headdress” during the televised show. The company gave a weak apology after the first faux-pas and then proceeded to do it again.

This account of cultural appropriation was especially problematic given that the context hyper sexualized indigenous women. And given that more than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence, and more than 1 in 2 have experienced sexual violence, the stereotype is a problematic and unhealthy one.

2. Carolina Herrera using the traditional ‘Zarape’ print

twitter @cuauhtemoc_1521

Founded, and formerly helmed by the Latina Carolina Herrera herself, this instance of cultural appropriation was a true shock to Latinos everywhere. The new creative director of the brand, Wes Gordon “took inspiration” from the Serape print originally from Saltillo, Mexico. The collection featured the colorful print and copies of Indigenous Mexican embroidery. Needless to say the people who have created this aesthetic for centuries went uncredited. 

3. Isabel Marant blatantly COPIED a traditional Oaxacan garment —and went as far as to patent it.

twittwe @wendulainelalo

Ok, so this one is especially wild. The French designer known for her “boho-chic” aesthetic was under fire in 2015 for literally COPYING a traditionally indigenous design, typical of Oaxaca. It was reported that the French government had issued a patent document to the authority of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca, to prevent the inhabitants of the municipality from selling their indigenous designs —THEIR own designs, which have belonged to their peoples for centuries. 

The document was said to suggest that Isabel Marant and another French company, Antik Batik, owned the patent to the embroidered blouses —and that the Mexican community of Oaxaca would need to pay copyright fees in order to sell them, which understandably enraged the local people. The two French companies were accused of plagiarism in respect of the embroidered blouses which took inspiration from the country’s artisanal designs.

4. Navajo or “tribal” prints appropriated by Urban Outfitters —and fashion in general.

urban outfitters

In 2016 Urban Outfitters won a trademark case filed against them by the Navajo Nation. New Mexico Federal Judge Bruce D. Black accepted the hipster retailer’s trademark fair use defense, thus approving the company’s decision to brand panties, flasks, and other products as “Navajo.” As the basis to their argument, Urban Outfitter’s explained that the term has “acquired a descriptive meaning within the fashion and accessory market…the fashion industry has adopted ‘Navajo’ to describe a type of style or print.” 

The Navajo Nation is a tribe rich with history and tradition, not to mention they function under their own government, and run a college and a museum on the reservation. Yet somehow, our legal system permits an entire culture to be reduced to a style of print.

5. Chanel’s grossly expensive boomerang

instagram @jefreestar

The boomerang is a tool used by Native Australians, and it dates back to 50,000 years ago. As aboriginal activist, Nayuka Gorrie eloquently put it: “Having a luxury brand swoop in, appropriate, sell our technologies and profit from our cultures for an absurd amount of money is ridiculous and hurtful,” she explained. “If Chanel truly want to respect Aboriginal cultures, the first place they should start is discontinue this product and issue an apology. Perhaps the next step would be supporting existing black designers.” Chanel slapped its logo on it and sold the boomerang for a whopping $1325 dollars. 

6. Mara Hoffman’s “Otomi-inspired” swim collection

credit poppies and ice cream blog

The American swim and beachwear designer “designed” and entire collection —bikinis, coverups and dresses included— using Mexican Otomi embroidery and turning it into a print. The website described the design as a “colorful exotic animal print,” with no mention of the indigenous people who own and have made these designs for centuries. WTF !!! Where is the credit?

The traditional embroidery is handmade by the Otomi people in Tenango de Doria, Hidalgo, and the designs are referred to colloquially as “Tenangos.”

7. KTZ copying an Inuit design.

twitter @museumatfit

The London-based streetwear brand has been accused of stealing and copying indigenous designs more than once. In this occasion, it was a design from a sacred Canadian Inuit garment worn by a shaman. The design was reproduced, altered ever so slightly and released as a part of the brand’s Fall Winter collection of 2015. The famous shaman’s granddaughter complained about the appropriation resulting in the company’s half-assed apology and discontinuation of the product. 

8. Nike “Huaraches”

twitter @runningwatches2

I for one, was surprised that the general mainstream wasn’t screaming cultural appropriation at this, when people didn’t even know how to pronounce the word “huarache” smh.

Nike’s “Huarache” sneakers first of all, look nothing like the pre-Columbian indigenous shoe. The sports brand just stole the name and took Tarahumara runners as inspiration for their shoes —might’ve been nice if they had at least gifted a few pairs to the indigenous runners. You know, after Nike “took inspiration” from their culture, and all. 

9. Michael Kors’ Mexican hoodie copy-cat

twitter @santiagopgm

Some outlets reported that the black and grey hoodie “closely resembled” a Mexican sweater. Um, no, it was pretty identical. The issue was first brought to light when Santiago Perez Grovas, a photographer and architect from Mexico City, posted an image on Twitter which showed him in a sweater that looked just like the Michael Kors one. 

“New collection by MichaelKors that probably costs thousands of pesos…-Sweatshirt that I bought in the market of Coyoacan two years ago for 200 pesos,” he wrote, sharing two images.

10. Everyone at Coachella

twitter @missIsisking

Every year at the festival we see an array of war bonnets, bindis, corn rows and many other cultural references trivialized and used as fashion props. In an attempt at looking “bohemian,” “earthy” or “vintage” —this one’s especially terrible— attendees just end up stealing other peoples sacred elements and identities to parade around while drunk. Don’t be that person.

11. Dsquared2’s “DSquaw” collection

instagram @dsquared2

So, twin designers Dean and Dan, originally from Canada, decided to rip-off Native American designs and send them down the runway. It doesn’t end there though. the title of the collection, “DSquaw,” drew on a derogatory term for Native American women, and the equally offensive description of the runway show’s aesthetic—”the enchantment of Canadian Indian tribes” and “the confident attitude of the British aristocracy”—was posted to the fashion brand’s Facebook.

Dsquared2’s glamorization of colonialism feels particularly off-key considering the headlines about violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. As Canadians themselves, how can two people —and their entire teams— be so tone-deaf?

12. Ralph Lauren’s Native American Ads

twitter @kfor

The clothing brand released an online campaign in 2015 featuring imagery harked back to the Old West. In faded sepia tones, the ad showed a Native American sporting a feathered “headdress” and holding a rifle across his lap. The page read “Western Style” —and our eyes are rolling to the back of our heads rn. 

The tone-deaf ads reduced people, actually no, entire cultures, to mere marketing props. Many called for a boycott. Dr. Adrienne Keene, a postdoctoral researcher and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, wrote in a post for Indian Country Today Media Network that Ralph Lauren had reached a “new low.”

“Ralph Lauren has been doing this my whole life,” Ruth Hopkins, a writer in her 30s who lives on the Spirit Lake Tribe reservation in North Dakota, told The Huffington Post. “He is a repeat offender. Cultural appropriation is apparently his thing.”