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In April, Amandla Stenberg released a video about cultural appropriation, calling out Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and more for adopting aesthetics stemming from black culture without acknowledging their origins. In the video, the Hunger Games actress discusses, specifically, cornrows and their growing popularity on runways, in editorial spreads, and on the heads of white pop stars. She summarizes one of the glaring issues with the high-fashion adoption of the hairstyle, saying, “braids and cornrows are not merely stylistic, they’re necessary to keep black hair neat.”
Over the weekend, Amandla gave a personal shoutout about cultural appropriation to Kylie Jenner on Instagram.
Kylie shared a photo in which her hair is braided in cornrows with the caption “I woke up like disss.” The photo garnered over 1 million likes and almost 120,000 comments, including one, according to screenshots, from Amandla. She wrote, “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.”
Kylie, reportedly, replied, “Mad if I don’t, Mad if I do…. Go hang w Jaden or something.”
While the internet was quick to qualify the exchange as a “feud,” Amandla responded on her own Instagram with this post, writing in the caption, “bigger than you or me. discussions are healthy. ignorance is not. words by me.” Her words help to further contextualize a beauty double standard that denigrates these hairstyles on black women while celebrating them on white women.
Between Amandla and Zendaya—who faced extraordinarily ignorant comments about her hair earlier this year—conversations about topics that are typically overlooked are finally getting the attention they deserve in pop culture.
#Amandla Stenberg#Cultural Appropriation#KylieJenner#racism