Kendall Jenner is being criticized for cultural appropriation for a picture she posted April 6 of her hair in braids, and it comes on the heels of her Pepsi ad controversy.
On April 6, she posted a Throwback Thursday photo of herself and her sister, Kylie Jenner, wearing their hair in cornrows. The post appears on her website under the title "Matching Braids With Ky." The caption reads: “I can’t remember anything about this picture but I still love it -- the colors are all so vibrant. It looks like Ky and I were riding on a little carousel. And, judging by the braids, we’re either on vacation or had just gotten back. Cuties!”
Considering the Pepsi controversy, many on social media were surprised that she would post a photo sporting a hairstyle associated with African-American culture.
“Not the time to post this hunny,” one wrote.
Another said: “Aw appropriating culture since day 1 :)”
Cultural appropriation, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, is "the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture."
Her recent Pepsi commercial, which was accused of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, and protests in general, drew so much criticism that Pepsi decided to pull the commercial off the air, notes The New York Times.
Whoopi Goldberg, for one, thinks accusing Kendall of cultural appropriation smacks of political correctness, reports the website TooFab. Regarding the Pepsi ad, Goldberg said: "It's just a crappy idea, it didn't work. [But] this cultural appropriation stuff is really starting to make me crazy. If we're gonna go with cultural appropriation, wear natural hair. If we're wearing white lady hair, isn't that appropriation as well? Listen, now, there are some things where you can say, 'Hey, you need to be more sensitive,' but this ain't one of them."
The Pepsi ad shows racially and culturally diverse young people marching in the street, holding signs with ambiguous slogans like "join the conversation," and generally having a good time, explains The Times.
In the climactic scene, Jenner approaches a line of police and hands one of them a Pepsi, creating happy harmony between the crowd and the cops.
One vocal critic of the ad was Elle Hearns, a former organizer for Black Lives Matter. “No one is finding joy from Pepsi at a protest," she said. "That’s just not the reality of our lives. That’s not what it looks like to take bold action.”
Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, also condemned the ad.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,” the company said in a statement on April 5. “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”
Kendall also received an apology from the popular cola brand.