Are Braids an African-Only Thing? Rihanna’s 'Appropriation' Stirs Controversy

Published September 26th, 2021 - 06:27 GMT
Rihanna has recently introduced her Savage X Fenty beauty collection in a special show. (Albawaba)

Last Friday, the fashion world watched closely as Rihanna introduced her latest fashion collection in a special show. However, as people watched models walk down the catwalk, questions over appropriating black culture started to flood social media.

It was the moments that non-black models such as Vanessa Hudgens and others showing up with braids that angered many African American social media users, who dubbed using the hairstyle as appropriating African culture by non-Africans.

Social media users widely shared photos and asked questions about Rihanna's approval of braids by non-black models, especially that the pop star is considered one of the most popular figures amongst black people and that her fashion collections aim to empower African Americans presenting make-up lines that cater to their needs after decades of white-oriented industry.

Yet, some commentators expressed counter opinions, saying that braids are featured in many other cultures not only African ones, such as Nordic countries and Russia.

Some also said that no one accuses black models of appropriating other cultures when they wear blonde wigs, straighten their hair, or wear colored-eyes contacts and that the fashion world should be more welcoming of creative expressions of beauty.

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