Kim Kardashian who is both loved and loathed by many is no stranger to controversy. The mother of 4 has been accused of “cultural appropriation” so many times that it’s almost a norm every few months. From her exaggerated curves back in 2014 to her “Bo Derek” braids, Kim Kardashian who is a white Armenian-American woman has been slammed so many times for stealing and capitalising off of black culture.
- BRAIDS: Kim Kardashian West found herself at the centre of a “cultural appropriation” row on social media over yet another hairstyle. After the 39-year-old reality tv star shared pictures of herself rocking braids, at her husband Kanye’s Yeezy show in February 2020, she received a lot of criticism. The majority rushed to Twitter to voice their concerns over the bombshell’s new hair-do, with many saying her hairstyle was ripping off “black culture”. Some called her out to stop appropriating black culture, While others called her out for changing the name of the hairstyle and making it her own. Just like she called African Banku knots ‘space buns’.” in 2018 after rocking the style for the first time.
2. BANKU BRAIDS: In 2018, Kim K wore her hair in long braids to the MTV Movie and TV Awards. After sharing a video showing off her hairstyle on Twitter, people were quick to respond with cries of cultural appropriation, while others thought her privilege was showing. This wouldn’t be the first time the reality star is accused of cultural appropriation. In January of the same year, she posted a video on social media wearing platinum blond braids accessorised with white beads at the ends. introducing her new hairstyle in the video, she called it the Bo Derek braids. “So guys, I did Bo Derek braids, and I’m really into it.”
Social media’s unapproving response to her new look was swift. To add salt to injury, The Shade Room reposted the clip where it even got much more negative response as some quickly pointed out that what she called Bo Derek are actually African braids. Unbeknown to Kardashian, she was rocking Fulani braids, a hairstyle inspired by the Fulani people of East and West Africa. The hairstyle has been worn by women of colour for centuries.
3. THIN NOSE & LARGE LIPS: In 2019, Kim was accused of cultural appropriation after she posted a photo of her 90s-inspired make-up line. Majority of people on social media claimed she looked exceptionally unrecognisable. In the images, she appeared with a much thinner nose and bigger pout. Kim was also targeted with comments of cultural appropriation, with some pointing out that just because she married Kanye doesn’t give her the right to appropriate black features.
4. DARK SKIN: Kim Kardashian also came under fire for appearing darker than usual in the same beauty promo photos for her then-new make-up line, KKW Beauty. On June 14 2017, the reality TV star’s photos that unveiled s the first KKW Beauty product, Creme Contour & Highlight Kit, landed her in trouble and got people talking before the brand even launched. Many Twitter users immediately pointed out that she looked a lot darker in the photo than usual. While users accused the reality star of blackface, Some others pointed out how heavily photoshopped the pictures looked.
5. ALIYAH INSPIRED LOOKS: Apart from rocking an Aliya Halloween costume that was slammed inappropriate by fans in 2017, Kim Kardashian left people stunned yet again after posting a photo of her 90s-inspired make-up line in which they claimed she looked utterly unrecognisable. In the confusing picture, Kim also rocked a heavy black eye make-up and nude lips and kept her dark hair sleek and straight down. Finishing the look with leather Versace top. The images were released as part of her new ’90s inspired collection of all matte formulas. The heavily-photo shopped photos had fans going wild with confusion; it looked nothing like Kim. While the star’s nose and mouth were much different with her eyes a lot more closer together, she was also sporting what appeared to be a false mole on her cheek. Kim’s dramatic look was instantly compared to 90s singer Aaliyah who passed away in 2001, while others compared her to Toni Braxton.
But other followers were loving the look — including long-term friend Paris Hilton who responded with a series of fire emojis.
6. Doobie Wrap Hairstyle: In 2017, Kim Kardashian wore her hair in a low bun with bobby pins which again didn’t go down well. Some people claimed it looked like a Doobie wrap protective hairstyle. Doobie wraps originated with and was popularised by Caribbean women. Social media said Kim K was yet again guilty of cultural appropriation and the style turned heads for all the wrong reasons.
After her hairstylist Chris Appleton posted a picture of Kim K’s hairstyle on Instagram, commenters started calling it a “bobby pin headband” — a designation that upset many.
Back in 2013, Rihanna wore a similar style to the American Music Awards. The response for RiRi? was different because people were surprised she hit the red carpet in a look often reserved for bedtime or chore time around the house. But Kim got the heat just based on the fact that she’s once again was being credited with originating a style that was created by and for women who’ve been doing it for a long time.
7. Baby hair: Kim K has also accused of appropriating black culture after the Keeping Up With The Kardashian star posted a video of herself modelling gelled down “edges” of baby hairs, a hairstyle which is generally attributed to the black community. Styling baby hairs is thought to have started in the ’70s, before a revival in the 90s with R&B stars like Missy Elliot and Chilli from TLC. However, the style has always been considered by some people as ‘ghetto’ and ‘low class’. Kim posted a video on Snapchat while in a car with her daughter, North West rocking the style, and she said “Alright guys, look at these edges,” Little did she know it will spark another controversy.
During an interview with Bustle, Kim explained why she chose to don the hairstyle and claimed that she didn’t see a backlash.
“I actually did that look because North said she wanted braids and asked if I would do them with her. So we braided her hair, and then we braided my hair.”
8. Champaign Balance on butty: In November 2014, the mother of 4 broke the internet with what she thought was a cool and edgy photoshoot. Kim balanced a champagne glass on her infamous butt, in a Jean-Paul Goude inspired shot photography. The response to Kim K’s glistening posterior went global and became a significant story today. The response was both explosive and polarising. Apart from some quickly pointing out that The original shot is of a black woman standing in front of a blue wall while she pops champagne into a glass placed on her rear end. Others saw the Paper Magazine shoot problematic for several reasons. Some claimed that when they look at the photo, all they saw was not so subtle reincarnation of Saartjie Baartman. In contrast, others pointed out that Kim has no clue about the cultural and historic significant’s of what she is doing. The photo-generated a torrent of butt-inspired commentary both delighted and outraged. Telusma at the time said, Mrs West, columned several hundred years of black female exploitation and had no F idea.
9. KIMONO: Kim K was once again accused of “cultural appropriation” after revealing the name of her new line of shapewear: Kimono. “Kimono”, actually means “thing to wear” and is a Japanese ceremonial garment. The long, loose robe features full sleeves and is tied at the waist with a sash, and is usually sported at special occasions in Japan.
Kim trademarked the word “kimono” as the name of her new lingerie brand, using it as a pun on her first name Kim. As you can imagine, the internet had a lot to say about it. Shortly after announcing the launch of Kimono, Twitter blew up with people accusing the reality star of being “arrogant” and calling the decision “vile”. Those outraged by the name even coined a hashtag “KimOhNo” while other Twitter users defended the mother-of-four amid the backlash. This also got Yuka Ohishi’s attention, and she said Kim’s moves are not fair and it sucks for Japanese when their culture is diluted by names of brands that don’t have anything to do with what the word it represents. She also claimed Kim stole and destroyed her culture.
10. Mang Tikka Look, Kim Kardashian, who always has some fashion enigma up her sleeves decided to wear and share the traditional Indian maang tikka to Kanye’s Sunday service on Instagram with the caption ‘Sunday Service Vibe’. It wasn’t long before fans took notice of the mang tikka and slammed her with criticism stating that “culture is not a costume” and that it was wrong for Kim to adorn it. One user went even as far to school the reality star on the definition and importance of the headpiece. She explained the Maang tika is a ceremonial headpiece traditionally worn by the bride. Wearing white in India is traditionally reserved for funerals. Kim’s account with over 133 million followers at the time received tons of criticisms for what they deemed ‘cultural appropriation’.