Kim Kardashian: Culture-vulturing is fine as long as it ‘comes from a place of love’

MTV Movie and TV Awards 2018

At the MTV Movie & TV Awards, Kim Kardashian wore Fulani braids. It was not the first time, nor was it the first time she didn’t acknowledge the history of the braids, nor did she acknowledge her history of culture-vulturing at the time. In a later interview, Kim was basically like “Yeah I know they’re Fulani braids but I do what I want.” Well, Kim is still trying to explain it. She attended the BeautyCon event in LA over the weekend, and she had more sh-t to say. Some highlights:

On the braids: “I’ve definitely had my fair share of backlash when I’ve worn braids. I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel around the world and see so many different cultures that have so many different beauty trends.”

She’s doing it for North: “My daughter actually loves braids, like this last time I wore [them], she helps me pick out a look and will show me pictures. I just think if it comes from a place of love and you’re using it as cultural inspiration, then I think it is okay. Sometimes I think maybe if you don’t communicate where you got the inspiration from — and I’ve done that in the past — then people might not understand it. But yeah, I think as long as it comes from a place of love and you’re getting inspired, then it is okay.”

The internet is a bad place: “What’s crazy is you can be having the best day, you can be posting the best pictures of yourself or whatever makes you happy, have one million positive comments and you’ll see one negative comment and it’ll ruin your day. But I really honestly it doesn’t really affect me anymore because I try to look at the positive side of things. I might reevaluate it when the time comes that my kids want phones and want to be on social media, but all in all I’ve tried to look at the positive of it.”

[From People]

Some of you suggested that Kim could make the valid case for culture-vulturing by saying that she wants to show her African-American daughter that they can both wear their hair however they want. It feels like Kim is coming close to saying that, by using North as an excuse. Except Kim was culture-vulturing before North even came around… but I guess we’re not supposed to remember that. In some ways, I can see what Kim is doing by setting an example for North. In other ways, I think “as long as it comes from a place of love” is a massive cop-out. People do some really screwed up, racist sh-t and then say “but it came from a place of love so it’s all cool, right?”

MTV Movie and TV Awards 2018

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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68 Responses to “Kim Kardashian: Culture-vulturing is fine as long as it ‘comes from a place of love’”

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  1. Udi says:

    Appropriation never comes from a place of love. I don’t know what kind of mental gymnastics one has to employ to contort stealth and misattrubution to an “act of love”. Her taking Fulani braids and labelling them something else is an act of appropriation not an act of appreciation. But at the same time it is important to make a distinction.
    And the distinction can be made on the basis of how respectable is it and proper attribution of credit. What happened to that girl with the Chinese prom dress was terrible and unearned.

  2. Trillian says:

    Actually, I think she‘s right. Culture is meant to be shared. No ridiculing and no appropriation of sacred things/clothes/rituals of course. But I find the idea that you have to show proofs of ethnicity or nationality to be allowed to wear certain styles kinda strange.

    • BaronSamedi says:

      Couldn’t agree more. This is honestly getting ridiculous. It is a hair style. And doing from a place of love is appreciation not appropiation – there is a difference and we should acknowledge that even if it is a Kardashian doing it.

      Now, if you wanted to talk about how these women have been appropiating blackness through their bodies while resting on their white privilege to get none of the negatives I would be down for that.

      • Edwin says:

        I believe once you monetize it appreciation is out the window and being a culture vulture is what u are. This has been done for centuries without any recourse. I believe what was even more disrespectful is using her daughter as reasoning for this appropriation. To you it’s ridiculous because “it’s just a hairstyle” to most others it’s a continue disregard to the rightful ones who are the originators.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      But I don’t think that’s the problem. I think it’s more that she uses these styles in a trendy matter, takes credit for the trendiness, does not acknowledge the origin of the style, and when called out, is dismissive. I think the dismissing of the style origin is one of her biggest problems.

      • Green Is Good says:

        Paranormal Girl:👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

      • Erinn says:

        Agreed – I think that’s where the majority of the issue comes from. That being said – even if she had been more considerate of origins and more careful with giving credit where credit is due… she’s still be hated on because it’s Kim.

        I think there’s a lot of times when it comes to gossip where we should consider “if celebrity B (who I like) did what celebrity A (who I don’t like) did, would I still be angry about this?”

        I think it’s a tricky area. I don’t think most people who appropriate cultures are doing it consciously and with bad intentions. The problem is that ignorance can only be an excuse one time. After that – you’ve been made aware and need to consider other people/cultures when making choices like that.

        Cultural appropriation is something that’s been happening forever. Any time a dominant culture is taking from the minority culture this is happening. It can be directly related to race (and often is) but it can also be in tattoos or jewelry. If you’re walking around with Chinese characters or tribal tattoos on your body and you’ve given no consideration to the cultural significance and just do it because it’s pretty – that’s appropriation. And it’s in SO much of our day to day life. The forerunner to the 3 piece suit was taken from traditional Eastern European and Islamic culture. Hoop earrings date back to ancient Sumerian culture. American soldiers during WW2 took on mohawks to intimidate their enemies – taken from Native American culture. There’s just so much of it happening – and some of it has been adopted and altered by so many cultures over the years that a lot of people don’t realize that a lot of ‘normal’ day to day styles and items have been grabbed from other groups.

        I do think intentions matter. They’re not at all the only thing that matters though. You need to be willing to constantly be learning and reflecting and growing. If you don’t have bad intentions – but also aren’t willing to learn from missteps when you’re educated on them – then that’s a huge problem.

      • AnnaKist says:

        I couldn’t agree more, paranormalgirl. And let’s not overlook the fact that her huge media presence promoting herself and the “trendiness” of her style choices is to make money. And lots of it. That, apart from her narcissism, is what it’s all about. She shares nothing, culture or otherwise.

      • Default Girl says:


      • JRenee says:

        Exactly Paranormal Girl.
        I suspect as Kylie gets more press, she’ll do more things to get press as well..

      • Kitten says:

        This completely. Well said, ParanormalGirl.
        (also hello! *waves*)

    • kate says:

      Up until a month ago, black women wear not allowed to wear their hair in dreadlock in the military. But sure, let’s all share. Y’all don’t share, y’all STEAL. Always. Y’all steal land and people and entire go**amn countries and no, y’all are trying to steal culture. Just stop.

      • Nilber says:

        Ok, I am coming from a background in the US military. I want to stress this prior my comment.
        Women in the military have very strict regs on their hair for a reason. There are times when It drive me crazy but as a aircraft mechanic seeing a girl who chose to wear her hair in braids (gorgeous as they were) caused her bun to be too big and she lost a lot of it when it got caught in a mechanism. It was horrific and I can still remember rushing to cover the absent part of her scalp afterwards.
        Women (no matter race) already fight an uphill battle in the military to be taken seriously. Granted it shouldn’t be that way but it is. I don’t care how you wear your hair but stay within regs. You may not agree but I could name a few other reasons why this is such a bad idea. One being hygiene. Before you snap I’ll explain. I have had to talk to more than a few females I’ve worked with due to issues. Every background, culture and it boils down to either never being taught, not self aware or plain laziness. I don’t want to work with someone who stinks in 120 degree heat. There are standards and they are there for a reason.
        I’m exhausted and in extreme pain (I broke my back in multiple place while in the military) my hubs is deployed and I have a 14 yr old. I’m on board for many arguments but not that one.

        PS I have counseled many males on hygiene issues too.

      • Shambles says:

        + 1 @ Kate. The problem is that black women are still actively persecuted for wearing their hair like this. Kim is praised for it. She likes that praise. She wants to try on blackness without any of the oppression. It fetishizes and dehumanizes actual black women and it’s f*cked up.

        ETA: Nibler, you are perpetuating the racist stereotype that black people who wear braids or locks are unclean and lazy. PLEASE look at what you’re saying.

      • kate says:

        @Nilber, are you seriously telling me that black hair worn in its natural state is a hygiene issue?!

      • Alisha says:

        Thank you Kate, for your patience on this thread.

        And let us not forget how so many people credited them for “inventing” and “trending” curves when they all inflated their booty. And how one of them (Khloe? Kylie?) stole a black woman’s clothing designs and tried to pass them off as their own. They are despicable.

      • Nilber says:

        No, I am not saying that any specific individual regardless of race is unclean. Honestly the majority of those I counseled were the evil white girls. I challenge anyone to stay completely clean in the desert, 4 or 5 days without a real shower and working with grease. (Which was 2 high ranking black female Colonels argument against It) It might stun you to know that many black women in the military were not for this change. So get over your high horse. I actually agree with most points made about culture vultures just not this one. I’m sorry I offended anyone but there are many points and battles out there to use. The military one isn’t one that I agree with. Everyone is entitled to their opinion though.

      • Mel says:

        @Nibler- If you’re in the desert and can’t wash for days, anyone will stink , so please don’t say dreds, or a black woman’s natural hair smells. You do realize that people with dreds shampoo their hair, right? If you know nothing about black hair care, keep your comments to yourself.

      • Nilber says:

        @Mel you want to take any comment I make into me being an ignorant bitch. I said I would challenge ANYONE in the desert situation to be able to maintain perfect hygiene. You don’t know my background so don’t make assumptions. The smell of the hair isn’t an issue as much as what gets in our hair. (I still have nightmares of some stuff) I have seen braids and extensions fall out because of how tight we have to secure it. I love the styles although I can’t wear them due to my four head which is now a 7 or 9 head because of it being pullies back so much. I am sorry that is what you were thinking I meant. I admit I have never wore dreads but I have friends who do. I understand the basic care though. Fulani braids are gorgeous and honestly look completely pulled into the required bun (or ponytail now authorized)

        *Long hair, including braids, shall be neatly and inconspicuously fastened, pinned, or secured to the head.
        No portion of the bulk of the hair (minus the bun) will exceed two inches, as measured from the scalp.
        The bulk of the bun shall not exceed three inches when measured from the scalp. The diameter of the bun will not exceed four inches, and all loose ends must be tucked in and secured. *
        It can be a pain. Hopefully this explains more where I was initially coming from.

    • hmm says:

      I don’t even like Kim K, but this is getting ridiculous. Also at no point has she said she invented braids.

      • kate says:

        But she refused to recognized the origin of this specific style.

      • Tessy says:

        I agree. This whole culture thing is getting stupid. We aren’t living in little bubbles. People need to grow up and just start getting along. Like if I turn on a light, do I have to acknowledge that Edison invented it ffs?

  3. grabbyhands says:

    Can we just ban this tw*t and her whole soulless family?

    But yeah, I think as long as it comes from a place of love and you’re getting inspired, then it is okay.”

    No, it really isn’t. That is white people’s lazy ass excuse for cultural appropriation. It’s her lazy ass excuse for doing it over and over again because she likes playacting at the culture without ever accepting what actual WOC go through just to be able to wear their damn as they would like without being told that it is unprofessional, or unsightly or disturbing to people in some way. It is just an attention getting game for her. That her children MIGHT be getting some inspiration from it is purely accidental.

  4. BaeBae says:

    It’s not coming from a place of love when you’ve actively exploited members of the culture you’re appropriating… furthermore, she’s been a supporter of racists like Jeffrey Star even after her fans have told her how hurtful it is. Byyyye Kim.

  5. paranormalgirl says:

    I would be able to accept her appropriation more if she would simply say something at the time like “yes, these are Fulani braids. I think they are beautiful and they were inspired by my daughter. I did some research into the history of these braids and….” But no. It’s “I do what I want.”

    • WTW says:

      The whole daughter thing is also stupid. My black mother styled my hair in braids when I was growing up but never wore them herself, and I am not an anomaly. The idea that she’s doing this solely because of her daughter is BS. Long before North existed, they were culture vulturing and fetishizing black men. That is the problem here. Now, that she has a biracial daughter, she’s using her to justify it, which is really disgusting when you think about it. Anyway, IDGAF how she wears her hair, and at this point I don’t want to give her any attention for doing so. I’m a journalist and someone suggested I write about her hair controversy, and I was like, “Nope.” She doesn’t need any more attention for her misdeeds.

    • HomeSpun says:

      I went to a “tribal dance” convention and the woman who hosted it sat in a circle of 50 women,including WOC, and said that she does not culturally approbate because it “comes from her heart”. I pass as weight so I didn’t think I had the CRED to actually correct her, I’m a mixed POC and have always Rcvd ”priv”. I was waiting for Someone to
      Stand up and SPEAK. Pin drop. Nada

  6. Lady Medusa says:

    It is a sad day when we can’t let people wear their hair the way they want to.

    • LooseSeal says:

      Yeah it was absolutely devastating when the US military wouldn’t allow black women to wear their hair in braids. When companies reprimand or fire black women for their braids. It’s not sad when Kim Kardashian has to take some heat on the Internet for wearing a culturally black American hairstyle on a red carpet she’s profiting from.

      • Trillian says:

        Those braids are an African hairstyle. I see tons of women from all parts of Africa wearing them. Since I don’t live in the US, none of them is “black American”. Plus none of them give a damn that sometimes white people wear them. Why is that such an issue in the US? It looks ridiculous on people with straight hair imo, but that’s hardly a crime. Plus of course it sucks and it’s massively unfair that companies act (and are allowed to act) that way, but what does that have to do with KK wearing braids? Clearly she’s not employed by a company that enforces such rules.

    • Beth says:

      I agree. Hair is hair, and braids have been worn in most cultures. It’s a neat, clean, pretty hair style, and it should be allowed to be worn by anyone, anywhere

      • kate says:

        And it’s not. I’m black and if I wear my hair like that at work, I’m deemed unprofessional and ghetto. I’m also statistically more likely to be racially profilled. So … cry me a freaking a river, Kimberley Kardashian.

      • LooseSeal says:

        “Hair is hair” is the whitest thing anyone has said since Blake Lively claimed to be part Cherokee.

      • kate says:

        ha ha, @ Looseal. It’s right up there in the top 5 of white nonsense, just after “I don’t see color”.

    • kate says:

      Black women are not allowed to wear their hair in braids or dreadlocks in many professional settings. White women have it very easy.

      • Moneypenny424 says:

        Exactly. Hell, our young girls often cannot even wear their hair like this to school.

  7. Steampug says:

    I really don’t understand this whole concept – the braids are pretty, why is it wrong to wear them?

    • kate says:

      On one side, you have me, a black woman with kinky hair that are best suited for this hairstyle, yet I can’t wear them that way because it is deemed unprofessional and “ghetto”.
      On the side, you have Kimberley, a clueless white woman who can style as she wants without facing any kind of setbacks cannot/doesn’t want to acknowledge where the hairstyle comes from.
      See the problem?

      • Beth says:

        Until he shaved it all off, my black, lawyer bf wore his hair in corn rows in court and the office. It looks neat and professional, and it’s unfair to ban it

      • LooseSeal says:

        Kate – you are doing God’s work on this comments section. I applaud your patience. I’m having such a hard time because on one hand I’m like “maybe if I’m as nice and patient as can be, people will finally understand,” but I’m heading toward “Google it, Becky! There’s plenty of GD info out there!”

      • Georgia says:

        Yes, I get it and I’ll admit I didn’t before these conversations.

      • kate says:

        @LooSeal, oh I am trying to patient with people who might be new to this community. We already had dozens of discussions on this topic and some users are always there, pretending to be dumber than they are, trying to be cute with the “all the Black people I know thinks it’s just hair” bs. I don’t answear to this kind of comment because what is even the point? They just don’t care. But others genuinely don’t know and I want to try to explain to them why it’s wrong.

      • Huh says:

        Kate please continue to be patient, many of us are not from the US and don’t have any f**king idea what any of this is about. I’m completely baffled personally as to why you wouldn’t be able to wear your hair like that to work?!

  8. bonobochick says:

    I have always thought the underlying issue with her and her family on this topic is that they take styles from Black Culture and Black History then spin it and profit from it without acknowledgment of [Black/African] origins. IIRC, Kylie has run into a couple of lawsuits from stealing designs from Black women. So along with that behavior and their fetishism of Black men, it is all just super gross. It is an audacity of privilege.

    I have a couple of friends who like KKW and other K-J family members but it is none of my Black friends (nor Black mixed me) cause we all feel on some level that how they use Black culture and history as well as Black bodies is vile.

  9. Pamm says:

    Only non black women won’t see anything wrong with cultural appropriation. She knew the style was called Fulani braids but she captioned it ‘Bo Derek’s braids intentionally. It’s very unfair for non black women to say that there is nothing wrong in wearing braids when black women have been racially profiled for wearing same braids.

  10. Adee says:

    I get what she’s saying. Some women who don’t have naturally blonde hair might love the look and wear their hair blonde. Same with some who have curly/course hair might wear it pin straight.

    Personally, for me as a bi-racial woman I wear my natural curls 24/7
    I can’t say I really relate to this.

    • kate says:

      Are blonde women more likely to be racially profiled? Denied job opportunity? Bellited at work?

      • Adee says:

        I don’t see what that has to do with this.
        People have been “borrowing” looks for years. It didn’t just start now and it didn’t start with Kim K.

      • kate says:

        Black women wearing braids or locks are more at risk in every setting. Because of their natural hair. Kim is a clueless white woman who is appropriating looks from Black culture without acknowledging it.
        You’re right that appropriate did not start know, white colonizers litteraly appropriated an entire land.

    • Bluest Eye says:

      Of course you don’t relate to it. The exercise is to
      Put yourself
      In their position
      And try to
      What it must be like
      To be them
      And not you

  11. ellieohare says:

    If she acknowledges where it comes from, what is the issue?

  12. Nancy says:

    She literally said, you could be having the best day, posting the best picture of yourself….this is one empty shell here.

  13. HK9 says:

    They’ve mastered being in proximity to others culture(not just Black but anyone they can use)/creativity and low key taking credit for it by not taking any opportunity to acknowledge origins or issues around it. Because they make a living out of doing nothing really, people don’t buy it and rightfully so.

  14. Marianne says:

    That whole family have been trying to be black for as long as I can remember.

  15. D says:

    HAIR IS HAIR MY GOD NO ONES RIPPING STRAIGHT WEAVES OFF BLACK LADIES JUST LET PEOPLE LIVE WITH THEIR BODIES FFS ITS HAIR Zwe have brown kids in cages people we have blacks being killed who gives a phuck about Kim’s hair NOT ME not reading this ish

    • Alisha says:

      It is possible to care about many things at once.

    • Original Jenns says:

      These “small” micro aggressions contribute to the larger problems you stated above. It’s all interwoven. Something starts the “other, not me” thought process and it grows until we have what’s going on in our country. So it’s important to see the trees through the forest, too.

      And, like Alisha said, it’s possible for most people to care about different things, regardless of the level of urgency.

  16. eto says:

    I think folks are getting up in their feelings at thought of being told not to do something. This is Kim Kardashian – she’s been stealing from black culture for as long as she’s been on the scene. Anyone else I would give the benefit of the doubt but this is how the ENTIRE family operates. No grace earned, no grace given.

  17. livealot says:

    Over her using “black rage” for attention. You’re boring Kim, face it.

  18. Sza says:

    As per my culture if I wear jeans I’m appropriating European culture, if I eat cereal I’m appropriating Western culture, I’m appropriating someone else’s language by writing in English right now.

    Personally if my own culture became more mainstream in a different country I’d be happy and proud. But that’s just me though.

  19. Helen Smith says:

    America has been a melting pot for centuries. Just look at our food culture or our music. Seems whacked to me that anyone would be barred from enjoying an activity, style, music, cuisine or culture because they aren’t the correct racial or ethnic group.

  20. Alarmjaguar says:

    Helen Smith, it isn’t difficult for people to acknowledge where things come from—also, all of those things you mentioned have a past— soul food, for example m, is delicious and particularly Amer, but it is also absolutely tied to the history of slavery and the fax that slaves had very few good options (and often the worst kinds/pieces) but we’re amazingly creative with what little they had (or even as slave women cooked elaborate meals for their masters). You can enjoy that while acknowledging that the history behind it is messed up—and recognize that mom-Black chefs now make tons of money on food that used to be even as only fit for slaves. Please listen to what commentators are saying, really listen