So I just saw a picture of Khloe Kardashian on Facebook wearing a silky, blonde set of bantu knots. Khloe captioned the pic on her Instagram “Bantu Babe”. Of course, Black Twitter WENT OFF!!!! I must be honest, though, I’m happy she at least knows the name of the style.
Personally, I don’t really care about all of Black Twitter’s tweets, and I’m sure some of “White” Twitter’s tweets in defense of Khloe K. It’s a free country, say what you want. Post whatever pictures you want. I’m sure I can guess with relative accuracy what people said because this situation isn’t anything new.
But this is what pisses me off: I don’t care if Khloe or Kim or anyone else wants to rock Bantu Knots or cornrows or whatever else. Go ahead and wear them. Honestly, Khloe looks gorgeous in the snap, but allow me to tell “you” (people who will see this picture and emulate it thinking that Khloe is starting some new fashion trend or movement) what you are NOT going to do! YOU ARE NOT going to act like you came up with it. YOU ARE NOT going to assert that you look anymore fabulous than the brown beauties who have been rocking these styles FOREVER! YOU ARE NOT going to try to pass this off as some new fashion that you created or discovered, but when I do it, it’s tacky or ghetto or “excessively black” in a way that turns black into something to fear or snuff out. YOU ARE NOT going to let this end up on the runways and in the magazines without letting the world know exactly from where you drew your inspiration.YOU ARE NOT going to pretend that our magic does not exist.YOU ARE NOT going to pretend that our magic doesn’t enrich your life.
What you WILL DO is APPRECIATE the culture! Learn about it, and don’t stand in the way of that beautiful knowledge reaching the masses. What you WILL DO is be fascinated; be inspired; be in awe. I mean, at this point in humanity, those are all perks of living in a world with so many incredible cultures that we have access to. Our ability to shrink this great world and take in its vast, enchanting wonders is amazing! This is the reason we say “What a time to be alive!” But while you’re living, don’t starve those who feed you. Don’t starve us of credit, recognition, or true appreciation. And don’t poison us by simultaneously perpetuating the idea that we’re not quite living up to some standard of beautiful, while ” trying us on like costumes”, as Jesse Williams said; costumes you want to keep and wear whenever you feel like it. That is not what cultures other than your own are. They are people, rituals, histories, struggles, triumphs, LOVE!
And this is not just to White people. We’re all probably appropriating somebody’s heritage as we speak. And sure, it can influence fashion and help build other cultures altogether, but let’s not stop at fascination and costuming, for those are the extent of appropriation. Let go further, into appreciation. Let’s say that WHAT WE WILL DO is at least try to learn about the bountiful cultures surrounding us. Let’s say that WHAT WE WILL DO is take proper advantage of the world and the times we’re living in, bringing people together.