Poor Kendall Jenner keeps finding herself at the center of ad promos that stoke the flames of rage among social justice warriors. Now she’s getting blasted for doing a photoshoot with Vogue during which she sported an afro-style hairdo.
The Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund shared several photos on Instagram showing Kendall Jenner in a hairstyle that ruffled the feathers of one too many commenters, who accused the fashion magazine of cultural appropriation, The Hollywood Reporter reports. Behold the monstrosity:
The model posing alongside Jenner in the second photo is none other than Imaan Hammam, a Dutch model of Egyptian and Moroccan descent. She’s also Muslim. Here’s what she said of her heritage to Allure:
I’m half Moroccan, half Egyptian, and I was born in Amsterdam. I’m Muslim, and I’m superproud of my heritage and of my roots. I want to be a role model for young girls who are struggling with racism or struggling with their looks or with their skin color. I had Naomi Campbell, who I looked up to as a black powerful woman. But there aren’t many Arabic models, and being an African-Arabic model, I’m trying to open doors for more Arabic girls.
So, to get this straight: A photo featuring a Muslim African-Arabic model posing alongside Kendall Jenner in an afro-style is what people are throwing conniption fits about.
“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 were confounded about all the fuss over the photo.
One user emphatically protested: “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).”
Some also noted the double-standard when labeling people with cultural appropriation, since Beyonce often wears straight, blonde hair.
Predictably, the backlash prompted an apology from Vogue, who uttered the oft-repeated “we did not mean to offend anyone” phrase that’s become standard protocol in these situations.
“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.”
As noted by THR, Vogue has previously been criticized for cultural appropriation and sending alleged “tone-deaf messages.”
“A Vogue Italia cover was accused of showing model Gigi Hadid in ‘blackface‘ in May, while last year Vogue Arabia sparked controversy for styling Rihanna in Queen Nefertiti-like garments,” reports the outlet.
Kendall Jenner, of course, is no stranger to controversy. Her “Woke Pepsi” commercial fail will go down in the halls of history as one of the most tone-deaf ad blunders this side of “New Coke.”