Should We Care About Kim Kardashian's New Braids?

We unpick the controversy.


Whether or not you give two shits about Kim Kardashian, you can't have missed her latest controversy, stemming from a particular set of social media posts. The new set of images showed Kim scantily clad and sporting cornrows – which, although not exactly surprising coming from a Kardashian-Jenner, was by all accounts not a clever move.

Aside from the major faux pas of actually wearing the braids, Kim's reference to Bo Derek (of the 1979 comedy 10) also struck a raw nerve, seeming to completely disregard the hairstyle's deep roots in African-American culture. After facing a barrage of criticism for her new look, she then further enflamed the situation by posting a new Poloroid of her – and her braided hair – on the phone with the caption, “Zero fucks, please, thanks.”

Should we really care about Kim Kardashian's new braids? In short: yes. Braids or cornrows might only be twists of hair in the most basic sense, but what so many would-be appropriators fail to understand is that braids are anything but basic. Woven into those strands of hair are thousands of years of history – the hair-preservation technique dates back to 3000 B.C. – and ignoring that rich heritage by reducing it to the mere superficiality of a fashion trend or a “fun look” is nothing short of a travesty. It's like stealing the Mona Lisa to wear it as an A-board just because it's famous and beautiful, without having any fucking idea about its worth or who even painted it anyway.

What might the reaction be, we wonder, if instead of glossing over that heritage with a sweeping Bo Derek reference and a sharp fuck you, Kim had actually put some research in, or delivered a story about her personal connection to this particular style of braiding? If she was less of an image-obsessed ignoramus, would it make it any more okay?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.


Next up, Kanye West's fake Yeezy paparazzi shots aren't clever; they're ridiculous.