It’s been only a few months since Kim Kardashian West notoriously took to Snapchat wearing what she called "Bo Derek braids," a reference to the hairstyle worn by the actress in the 1979 movie 10. People on the Internet were quick to label it cultural appropriation and to call her out for attributing the style to a white woman when, in fact, the style originated in West Africa long before Derek wore them on a slow-motion beach jog. However, despite the criticism, Kardashian West wore Fulani braids yet again Saturday night when she attended the MTV Movie & TV Awards.
The reality TV star and makeup mogul walked the red carpet with waist-length braids, parted down the middle and left loose at the ends (her earlier version featured beads on the ends). And while whoever did the braids clearly took great care, it seems Kardashian West didn't care one bit about the previous comments accusing her of cultural insensitivity and ignorance. As Allure writer Danielle Gray so sagaciously said when Kardashian West wore the style in January, "The argument is bigger than who did it first, of course, because ultimately, cultures are influenced by one another. The argument here: Styles worn for decades, centuries, even millennia, by black women are not deemed beautiful until someone white or white-passing wears it. See, the biggest thing about this isn't whether or not Kardashian West is 'allowed' to wear cornrows. She's free to style her hair in any way she so pleases. The real issue is the constant erasure of black women when it comes to beauty."
So while Kardashian West rightly ignores so many of the unsolicited comments about her appearance that are constantly hurled at her, ignoring this particular kind of criticism — criticism that goes far deeper than superficial judgment — and wearing the style another time essentially doubles down on the implication that she could not care less about the historical, cultural, and societal context of a hairstyle other than whether or not she likes how it looks in the mirror. In fact, it's hardly an implication. Shortly after the Bo Derek braids brouhaha, Kardashian West appeared to respond with an Instagram post that said it all: a photo of her wearing the braids while talking on the phone, the caption reading, "Hi, can I get zero fucks please, thanks."
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There has yet to be the same volume of backlash as when Kardashian West wore Fulani braids in late January, but that could be chalked up to the fact that the MTV Movie & TV Awards hasn’t aired yet. Although there has been some red-carpet coverage of the June 16 event on the Internet, the show airs tonight, June 18. Tune in to the show to see the look and tune in to Twitter to see the reaction.
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