‘Dark hair is black history for us’: Rihanna’s fashion show sparks argument over how to style white models’ hair in braids | Fashion

SInterger Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty fashion line sparked an online debate about cultural appropriation, after models wore what appeared to be braids on the brand’s lingerie show. After the show aired last Friday on Amazon Prime, viewers expressed concern on social media about seeing non-black models, including Emily Ratajkowski, with braids.

“I wish I could write something as funny as putting all those white girls in pigtails for the Fenty show” tweeted actress and television screenwriter Raina Morris. And Dylan ali wrote: “I love the Fenty show but I think we need a trigger warning to see so many white women in braids.”

My Beautiful Black Hair author St Clair Detrick-Jules says, “For the producers of Rihanna’s fashion show, creating white models with typically black braids is exhausting. We’ve made strides in educating non-black women about the depth of our connection to our hair – but behold, producers are willfully ignoring all the readily available information online explaining what cultural appropriation is and why it is. harmful.

With online commentators Questioning the origins of hairstyle, Detrick-Jules believes the attempt to reframe the debate around hair is due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of history. “The fact that our knowledge is so vague and often more filled with myths than facts, partly explains why there is so much cultural appropriation.” She says the braids originated in Africa around 3,500 years ago. “They have been used to indicate social status, religion, marital status and other markers of identity. In other words, braids, like other black hairstyles, reflect culture.

Last year, Selena Gomez came under fire after appearing on the cover of Interview magazine sporting braids. In May, Justin Bieber was arraigned online for wearing a cornrow hairstyle and Kim Kardashian was regularly arraigned for ‘fishing for black’: appearing to wear hairstyles such as braids and tanned makeup, allegedly to look black . Detrick-Jules believes incidents like these keep happening because of a misconception about the meaning of style.

“I look at the education system here in the United States and it is clear that we have been misinformed about our history, especially when it comes to Native and Black history,” she says. Against this background, Detrick-Jules says it’s easy to see why a non-black woman might think it’s okay to have braids in her hair. “[They] don’t understand that for us black hair is black history. [They] I also don’t understand the centuries of real trauma that black women have gone through because of our hair and therefore [a non-Black woman] doesn’t understand that for us braids or other natural black hairstyles are not “trendy”. They are part of history, they are our link with our ancestors – a link that was deliberately broken by the slave trade – they are a legacy.

Savage X Fenty has been approached for comment.

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