Cultural appropriation is a difficult topic to maneuver. On one hand, the intercultural sharing of styles or recipes is an effective way to educate others and also learn more about your own roots. Still, on the other side of the debate, is the idea that others are stealing something that is considered a cultural cornerstone. Kim Kardashian was met with criticism for wearing her hair in braids on several occasions. Many people feel that she is appropriating Black culture, when in fact, braids were existent in many cultures around the ancient world simultaneously. For example, you’ve probably seen a Kung-Fu flick, such as Jet Li’s Fearless, where he wears a long braid. The queue or cue hairstyle of Asian culture was popular in ancient times, while the Norse Vikings also tied their hair in braids. Kim’s braids might have been on more of an African-American side, but the style, in general, is universal. Still, with the racial climate in the US at a boiling point, displaying sensitivity towards other cultures is a powerful thing.
Zac Efron recently uploaded a picture of himself rocking dreadlocks to Instagram. The actor doesn’t clarify whether the dreadlocks are for a new movie role, or if he just felt like twisting his hair up. After he posted the picture, he was met with immediate backlash. The internet was quick to call Efron out for cultural appropriation. In all honesty, the hair could also be fake, which would be worse. Dreadlocks are more than just a style or a fad, they are a lifestyle. The method of constantly twisting new growth and grooming growing locs is meticulous. Many dread heads pay respect to anyone of any nationality that has the patience and drive to actually take care of their locs, while the people who just sow in fake ones are frowned upon. Whether or not Efron has a genuine respect for their culture, or if the move is just a trendy Hollywood moment for him, has yet to be discerned.