Model and Keeping Up With the Kardashians star Kendall Jenner is no stranger to getting slammed for cultural appropriation. This time, Jenner donned an Afro hairstyle for Vogue Magazine, and Instagram is not having it.
According to a report from Cosmopolitan, Vogue posted the image of Jenner to its official Instagram account. In the picture, Jenner wears a floral Brock Collection dress along with a curly, teased out hairstyle that resembles an Afro. The post was supposed to be about the 15th anniversary of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which the brand said created a life-changing experience for those who were a part of it. Vogue‘s followers instantly began pointing out how offensive they felt using Jenner wearing a hairstyle of a person of color was to them and other models of color.
One asked, “But why didn’t you just use an ethnic model with that hair naturally?”
The other strange thing people pointed out in the collection of photos is that model Imaan Hammam, who is of Moroccan and Egyptian descent, had straightened hair in the images when she usually has curly hair.
As for Vogue, the magazine responded to Page Six with the following statement:
“The image is meant to be an update of the romantic Edwardian/Gibson Girl hair which suits the period feel of the Brock Collection, and also the big hair of the ’60s and the early ’70s, that puffed-out, teased-out look of those eras. We apologize if it came across differently than intended, and did not mean to offend anyone by it.”
Jenner also posted the image to her own Instagram account, where the post garnered over 2.2 million likes from Jenner’s 96.7 million followers. One of the model’s fans wrote that they think “many people with naturally curly, afros, etc. will feel offended by this.”
In 2017, Pepsi pulled its controversial commercial featuring Kendall Jenner after backlash over having the then-21-year-old model appear to resolve a situation between Black Lives Matter and police with merely herself and a Pepsi — as if the solution to such a nuanced problem is simple. According to a BBC report, Jenner cried over the Pepsi incident on an episode of her reality TV show, which aired several months after the ill-conceived commercial drew backlash and forced Pepsi to pull it.
At that time, Jenner said she felt terrible and never meant to offend anybody by appearing in the commercial. For now, the model hasn’t addressed the concerns of cultural appropriation regarding the Vogue photoshoot, though it’s possible that the magazine’s statement could also speak for Jenner.