Rihanna Ignites Cultural Appropriation Debate After White Models Rock Braids in Savage x Fenty Show

by Shine My Crown Staff
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Billionaire megastar Rihanna rarely gets it wrong. But according to some of her fans, she missed the mark when white models walked her Savage x Fenty catwalk wearing braids.

Former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens, who is of Irish, French, Native American and Filipina descent and model Emily Ratajkowski, who is of English, Irish, Polish, German, and Polish Jewish descent — were two of the culprits singled out by Fenty fans.

Savage x Fenty has always prided itself on being an inclusive brand.

Some of her fans do not agree.

“I wish I could write something as funny as putting all these white girls in braids for the Fenty show,” comedian Raina Morris tweeted.

Dylan Ali wrote: “I love the Fenty show but I think we need a trigger warning for seeing this many white women in braids.”

“For the producers of Rihanna’s fashion show to fashion white models with distinctively Black braids kind of feels exhausting. We’ve been making some headway with educating non-Black women about how deep our connections are to our hair – yet here come the producers wilfully ignoring all the easily accessible information online explaining what cultural appropriation is and why it’s harmful,” St Clair Detrick-Jules, said per The Guardian.

While the issue of cultural appropriation is an important one, does it apply in this scenario? Not everybody felt this way.

“I read a snippet of an article over outrage on Rihanna styling her white models with braids. And she is being accused of cultural appropriation. I think Americans forget that blackness is universal and not confined to the US. Rihanna is a black Caribbean woman,” somebody wrote in response to The Guardian article.

Journalist Ralph Leonard also tweeted, “The one thing I dislike about the cultural appropriation discourse around black hair is the pretentious, romantic sacralisation of black hair. African hairstyles are not holy and sacred. Like I always say it’s gatekeeping by wannabe Brahmins.”

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