Known for wearing everything from cornrows to purple buzz cuts, actress Keke Palmer recently set the record straight for folks who think black women are mad at those of other races who choose to wear braids, bantu knots and other hairstyles that originated in African culture. In a recent interview with Yahoo Beauty, the Scream Queens actress shared that cultural appropriation has been “going on for a long time”, but believes that those who defend it don’t understand the reality of what it means:
“They feel like it’s a situation where black people don’t want nobody wearing braids, don’t want nobody wearing kinky, curly, whatever. It’s not really about that.”
“It’s when people get appreciated, congratulated, or credited for things that are not of their culture. Facts are the facts.”
Palmer recounts a time where she was talking with a friend and discussed an incident in which someone said, “White girls can’t wear braids, but black girls can walk around with their hair relaxed or straight.” Keke notes that a “history of cultural oppression” has forced black women to wear their hair in styles deemed acceptable or traditionally beautiful.
“A black girl such as myself couldn’t go to school without being clowned about her hair sitting on the top of her head. When my hair was too crunchy and too hard and my crown was too high, I was teased and called ‘disheveled’.”
“There was a time when women could not get jobs or go into a workplace without having their hair straightened.”
Palmer also has a message for those who think it’s cute to appropriate black culture:
“It’s not you wearing braids to get a job, wearing locs to get a job. You’re doing it for kicks. That doesn’t bother me, but don’t be disrespectful to the culture that it came from.”
Furthermore, Palmer shared how problematic some of the examples young celebs are setting for youth are and pointed to the Kardashian family, particularly Kylie, for selling images of perfection that many young people feel pressured to achieve:
“So often people feel like, you know what, I’m just going to beat them to the punch and either degrade myself or be so damn perfect they have nothing to say. We’ve seen extremes of that.”
“In the sense of the Kardashians, it’s like, I’m going to show you so much perfect and be everything a woman should be or everything a man would like or love.”
“Specifically in the situation with Kylie, where you’ve had a young girl people have seen on television since she was a kid and they literally told her she was so ugly … the ugly person in the family. She went and did apparently everything the world deems as beautiful. The even crazier part is that everybody loves her for it.”
“What I find interesting is that this is something that is being displayed to my generation — showing young girls, young guys that if you do everything that society wants you to be, not only will you be praised for it, but you will make money for it. You can be profitable for not being who you truly are.”
Keke is kind of all over the place but do you think she makes a good point? I mean Hollywood hasn’t exactly JUST started this trend of rewarding lies and illusion, but when it comes to cultural appropriation it would be nice if the Kardashian Klan as well as the media that loves them started giving credit where credit is due for all the “edgy and urban” looks they’ve “discovered”.