Culture

Kim Kardashian's Cornrows Slammed: Five Times Kardashian-Jenner Clan Criticized for Appropriation

Kim Kardashian West chose to wear cornrows, again, at last weekend's MTV Movie & TV Awards, and the backlash was predictably swift. 

Critics accused the reality TV star of cultural appropriation for sporting the hairstyle, traditionally known as Fulani braids and primarily associated with Africans and African-Americans. Cultural appropriation is the act of a dominant culture taking elements from a minority culture, and it is a fairly common issue in fashion and beauty trends. 

Kardashian West has appeared in cornrows before and pushed aside the criticism she received. Her famous family members are no strangers to such controversies either.

Here's a list of five times the Kardashian-Jenner clan has been accused of racial insensitivity.

Kendall Jenner's Pepsi Commercial

The model, now 22, came under fire for a Pepsi commercial in 2017. The ad showed her walking through a crowd of protesters, including several African-Americans, as police watched. Jenner and the soda company were quickly called out for seeming to exploit the Black Lives Matter movement. The ad was subsequently pulled. "After I saw the reaction and I read what people had to say about it, I most definitely saw what went wrong," Jenner said on Season 14 premiere of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. "I was so stuck, and I really didn’t know what to do."

Kylie Jenner's Camouflage Bikini

The youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, now 20, launched a swimwear line that featured a camouflage-print bikini. After sharing a picture of herself in this particular swimsuit, she received backlash from fans who said her creation was too similar to the camouflage outfits Destiny's Child wore in the group's "Survivor" music video in 2001.

Kim Kardashian West's 'Bo Derek' Braids

Kardashian West was criticized earlier this year for wearing Fulani braids when she took to Snapchat to show them off in January. Many fans were annoyed because she referred to her look as "Bo Derek braids." The hairstyle stems from the Fulani ethnic group in West Africa—not the movie star who wore the braids in the 1979 film 10. Derek, however, came to Kardashian West's defense. "It's just a hairstyle," Derek said. "[She] calls it the Bo Derek because she copied my pattern of braids."

Khloé Kardashian's Niqab

Before becoming a mother to daughter True Thompson, Kardashian drew criticism for sharing a photo of herself wearing a niqab—a veil worn by some conservative Muslim women that covers the entire face except the eyes—in 2015. In addition to some critics calling her an "idiot" and a "clueless fool," others questioned why she would choose to wear a niqab in the first place.

Kylie Jenner's Cornrows

In 2015, Jenner shared a picture on Instagram of herself wearing cornrows and captioned the photo, "I woke up like disss." Backlash ensued, and actress Amandla Stenberg explained in a comment why people object to such cultural appropriation. Responding to someone who wrote #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter on Jenner's picture, Stenberg shot back, "When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans."

kim kardashian braids Kim Kardashian West attends the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16 in Santa Monica, California. The reality star drew criticism for wearing cornrows again. Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MTV