Kim Kardashian has a very complicated relationship with the Black community. She's the mother to three Black children, she's married to a Black man, and has plenty of Black friends. But in spite of having a circle of Black people constantly around her, Kardashian has continuously appropriated Black culture, with the most recent being her Instagram photo shoot with her Fulani (or as she called them, "Bo Derek") braids.
So how did we get here? Well, let's take a very enlightening walk down memory lane.
8. In 2013, she first posted Fulani braids on her Instagram and called them her "Bo Derek braids."
The photo appears to be from her 2011 music video, and the hairstyle was apparently envisioned by director Hype Williams, according to The Hollywood Reporter. So it's safe to say she's liked this hairstyle for years, although it's unclear if she ever apologized for culturally appropriating the hairstyle or ever acknowledged that Bo Derek isn't the originator of Fulani braids. — Mary Anderson
7. And then in 2014, there was that time Kardashian "broke the internet" with an exploitive image.
Beyond that, Kim's photo recalls the exploitation of Saartjie Baartman, a Black woman who lived during the nineteenth century. The native South African was captured, sold, and sent to Europe to perform in a human-oddities show — because of her large buttocks and elongated labia. She became known as the Hottentot Venus, and spent the remainder of her short life being exploited in freak shows.
That historical context can't be divorced from the celebration of Kim's body and autonomy. It's unclear if she ever apologized. — Evette Dionne
6. For a Hype Energy campaign in 2015, Kardashian wore cornrows again.
Yes, we're back to cornrows AGAIN, and it's still unclear if Kardashian apologized! — MA
5. There's also the time in 2016 when she posted a picture showing off her love of mouth bling.
Grills and the like have been an accessory worn in the Black community for awhile, and Kardashian's variation is reminiscent of that. It's upsetting that grills worn by Black people are mocked as low-class, but on Kardashian it's applauded as a fashion statement. It's unclear if she ever apologized. — MA
4. There was that time when Kim Kardashian created "boxer braids."
Apparently, Kim and the UFC created "boxer braids," which are really cornrows or plaits. The #KimKardashianBraids Instagram hashtag is full of white women equating their cornrows with a white woman's iteration of the ancient hairstyle.
When Sasha Obama wore "boxer braids," The New York Daily News actually attributed its popularity to the Kardashians.
"The first daughter joins a raft of high-profile beauties sporting a version of the now-ubiquitous boxer braids," Alev Aktar wrote. "Fueled by celebrities and the popularity of UFC fighters, the center-parted reverse French-braid style has surged back into fashion."
It has been "in fashion" for a long time, and it's unclear if Kardashian ever apologized. — ED
3. After looking very tan in her 2017 KKW Beauty campaign images, Kardashian was accused of blackface.
Kardashian actually acknowledged the controversy and apologized, although she explained that she wasn't going for blackface and was just trying to achieve a "moody" look. The brand also replaced the photos. — MA
She actually captioned one of her posts, "Hi can I get zero fucks please, thanks," which many interpreted as her not caring about the cultural appropriation claims. Interestingly enough, the same stylist did Kardashian's doobie wrap hairstyle in 2017 also did her 2018 Fulani braids. — MA
At this point, I think Kardashian has shown that she doesn't care about stealing from Black culture, all the while overlooking her own.
I wish that Kardashian would focus on her own beautiful culture — her Armenian identity — more, and use it as a platform to show diversity in an original way, rather than ripping off other cultures.
We need to see all cultures represented, but in a way that doesn't do more harm than good.