Kim Kardashian has once again been taken to task for cultural appropriation; this time for wearing traditional Indian maang tikka head jewelry.
According to Fox News, the wife of rapper Kanye West sparked controversy on social media upon posting photos of her church outfit, which included the Indian head jewelry. “Sunday Service Vibe,” she referred to the garb in an Instagram post.
As is typically the case in these instances, followers of Kim Kardashian were outraged that she used another culture as her “costume.”
“This is not a Sunday Service Vibe, it’s an Indian vibe,” one commenter lamented, according to Fox News.
Another commenter noted that the maang tikka has nothing to do with Christianity, saying Kim Kardashian appropriated a religious symbol as jewelry. “For those of you who don’t know, the maang tikka is a ceremonial head piece traditionally worn by the bride. Wearing white in India is traditionally reserved for funerals,” the person said. “On top of that she wore this to a Christian service. She probably thought it was just jewelry, but when that piece has literally been used for centuries wouldn’t you kinda think there must be some sort of significant meaning held towards it?”
Kim Kardashian did, however, have a few defenders, including one Indian woman, who thought she looked fabulous. “As an Indian woman [I] think Kim K looks GREAT and frankly don’t care what she wears,” she said. “We all get influenced by each other’s culture, ethnicities… we should be honored that such a stylish woman appreciates our culture instead.”
The 38-year-old pop cultural icon has been criticized for cultural appropriation before. In 2018, she sparked much ire on social media when she showed up to the MTV Movie and TV Awards with braided hair.
“FOR YEARS WE have been penalized about our looks and especially our hair, It is a slap in the face when non-Blacks try to imitate our look,” one Instagram user wrote.
“I like Kendall but why didn’t they use an ethnic model who has hair like that,” another wrote.
Other Instagram users defended Kendall Jenner: “Backlash for this photo?? Seriously?? That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!! So now someone has decided who can have a full curly look/ afro?? That is just BS!! Pick your battles people and get over it…seriously!!”
“I’m so sick and tired of people criticizing Kendall Jenner,” another said. “She could wear her hair straight and have a green bow and it would be offensive. I’m honestly ashamed to say this, but y’all need to step back and look in the mirror, who are you to come at her when your just a HUMAN LIKE HER. Y’all should be ashamed, LEAVE HER BE. (Also that’s not an Afro).”
The backlash prompted an apology from Vogue, who said they “did not mean to offend anyone.”
“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,” the Conde Nast publication said in a statement to E! News. “We apologize if it came across differently than intended, and we certainly did not mean to offend anyone by it.”