Kendall Jenner sported cornrows while on vacation with her family in St. Barts yesterday, just a few weeks after her sister Kylie received backlash online for doing the same.
The Kardashians have come under fire in the past for co-opting black culture, while refusing to use their high visibility and celebrity platform to speak on (or even publicly show support for) important social issues relevant to the black community, such as police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg recently accused Kylie of cultural appropriation when commenting on an Instagram post showing the reality star wearing cornrows. Amandla wrote, “@novemberskyys when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter.” Missing the point entirely (or simply refusing to acknowledge it in a critical way), Kylie responded, “Mad if I don’t, Mad if I do…. Go hang w Jaden [Smith] or something.” Whether taking on hairstyles from different cultures can be considered appropriation or not, is still up for debate, and the answers will vary largely depending on individual beliefs. But Amandla’s argument — that white women are celebrated for taking on various aspects of different cultures, while women of color are often lambasted for the same — is not one that should be ignored.