Love ’em or hate ’em, the Kardashians are everywhere. The family’s obsessive need to be in the spotlight fuels their careers, but their ignorance pisses a lot of people off, too. The latest kontroversy: Kim posted a pic of herself in a Black hairstyle, sparking yet another debate around appropriation. But this isn’t the first time this famous fam has faced serious heat: From Kendall Jenner’s infamous Pepsi commercial to Khloé Kardashian’s Indigenous headdresses, here are all the times the Kardashians have been called out.
When Kim wore her hair in braids
Another day, another Kardashian wearing culturally appropriative braids. On March 2, Kim Kardashian West was spotted at the Yeezy Paris Fashion Week show sporting waist-length braids. KKW was seemingly donning the historically Black hairstyle to match daughter North. The issue? North is Black, Kim is not. (Kourtney’s daughter Penelope, also notably not Black, was wearing the style, too.) Social media users were quick to call out the reality star for once again blatantly appropriating Black culture.
Kim’s latest braid controversy came only hours after the star posted a #TBT of herself wearing Fulani braids. ICYMI, the makeup mogul came under fire in both January and in June 2018 for wearing the hairstyle—one that originated in West Africa and the Sahel region of the continent.
In January 2018, KKW shared a vid of herself wearing Fulani Braids on Snapchat, idetifying them as “Bo Derek braids,” referencing the actor Bo Derek who wore the hairstyle in the 1979 film 10.
Then, just weeks after attending the June 2018 MTV Movie Awards in full Fulani braids (again!), Kim responded to internet ire and calls of cultural appropriation by doubling down on her stance. Speaking on a panel at BeautyCon LA this weekend, the makeup mogul told the audience her desire to wear braids comes from a “real place of love and appreciation.”
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel around the world and see so many different cultures that have so many different beauty trends,” she said. And despite the backlash, Kim said of her braid-wearing ways: “I just think if it comes from a place of love and you’re using it as cultural inspiration, then I think it is okay.” However, many social media users seriously disagree, and seem to be getting tired of having the same argument over and over. “Are we gon talk about kim k’s cornrows or is cultural appropriation pointless to talk about anymore,” tweeted one user.
Here’s the kicker: During her appearance at BeautyCon, the mom of three also mentioned that it was her daughter North who helped her pick the braids, which Cosmo notes, is not the first time she’s used her four-year-old as a defence (and obviously wasn’t the last).
But with this latest braid escapade it honestly feels like she’s just trying to piss people off ?
When Kylie said dying Australian animals broke her heart…then showed off her fur slippers
Ready for the least shocking news? Kylie Jenner is a hypocrite. Case in point: her recent Instagram Stories.
She posted one on January 5, mourning the animals who have been killed by the devastating Australia wildfires. It read, “over half a BILLION animals have been killed in Australia…this breaks my heart.” The next day, she posted another pic showing off her pedicure…and her US $1,480 mink fur Louis Vuitton slippers. Oops. Needless to say, the backlash was real.
People then confirmed on January 7 that she was donating a million dollars to “various relief efforts” in Australia. A source told Us Weekly that the donation was already underway before the social media criticism, but it seems a lot like damage control to us.
When Kylie was called out for cultural appropriation again
Another decade, another Kardashian scandal. Only two days into 2020, the Kardashian fam was back at it with their problematic decisions. On January 2, Kylie Jenner was called out on Instagram for posting (then deleting, then re-posting on her Insta story) a previously unseen photo of herself from an old photo shoot. In the pic, Kylie’s hair is styled in twists, a style that Black women have often faced discrimination for wearing. According to Kylie’s long-time make-up artist, who posted the same photo to his Insta, the look was inspired by Gwen Stefani. Not surprisingly, Stefani also has a history of cultural appropriation, perhaps most notably with her Harajuku obsession in the ’90s.
Fans were quick to call out the make-up mogul for cultural appropriation, and Kylie swiftly deleted her grid post; instead posting on Insta stories…which doesn’t make it any better? Defs should have left this look in 2019 (and in your drafts folder), Kylie.
When Kim pretty much did blackface on a magazine cover
Didn’t even realize that this was KKW on first (or second, or third) glance? Yeah, you’re not alone. On December 19, the Skims founder shared her latest magazine cover, the Winter 2020 issue of 7Hollywood magazine. On the cover, which was art directed by designer Thierry Mugler, Kim wears a sparkly, form-fitting dress, and straight up, she looks like a Black woman. In fact, many on Twitter *thought* it was a photo of a Black woman, perhaps paying tribute to an icon like Diana Ross and Diane Carroll. But no, it’s Kim. Twitter users were quick to call the mogul out for clearly darkening her skin for the shoot, and accused her of blackface and blackfishing. KKW has yet to respond to the backlash herself, but a source close to the star (take that with a grain of salt) told Page Six: “It’s the lighting that makes her look darker in this specific image. There are multiple covers and images from this shoot where the lighting looks more natural. People are so quick to find the negative in everything and also often forget that she is of Armenian descent.”
When Kim named her shapewear after traditional Japanese clothing
Another day, another instance of Kardashian cultural appropriation. Honestly, are we even surprised at this point? In June, Kim announced that her new shapewear line—which she says has been in the works for a year—is named Kimono. Get it? Because her name’s Kim? *Laughs aggressively.* Someone on her team must have realized there would be major backlash to this (#KimOhNo started trending on Twitter), so maybe the (negative) attention was all part of their promotional plan? Either way, it’s not OK.
Presumably everyone knows kimonos are traditional Japanese garments with a complex and rich history, so it’s ridiculous for Kim—who is neither Japanese nor even East Asian—to be using, let alone profiting, off the term like this. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Kimono,” “Kimono Body,” “Kimono Intimates” and “Kimono World” are all pending Kardashian trademarks right now.
Too bad Kim doesn’t seem to get that. In a statement to the New York Times on June 27, Kim said, “I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture. And have no plans to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonor the traditional garment.” Does she have respect for it, though? Does she really? Because she also said, “I made the decision to name my company Kimono, not to disassociate the word from its Japanese roots but as a nod to the beauty and detail that goes into a garment.” Too bad she did just fully dissociate it from its roots. Kim continued to say that filing a trademark, “does not preclude or restrict anyone, in this instance, from making kimonos or using the word kimono in reference to the traditional garment,” which is quite literally the lowest bar possible.
Besides the name, people have been calling Kim out for not including larger models in the promotional pics, even though the line goes up to a 4XL and she claims it’s “for every body.” FACE PALM.
On July 1, Kim responded to the backlash with a lengthy Instagram post (of course). “When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind,” reads the post. “My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name.”
And on August 26, 2019, KKW announced that the brand would be launched under the name SKIMS.
When Kendall was accused of wearing an afro
For a photo shoot with Vogue, Kendall wore what many people—even, in full disclosure, some editors here at FLARE—perceived to be an afro, with the magazine later issuing a statement claiming that the style was a riff on 19th century “Gibson Girl” hair, saying that it “didn’t mean to offend anyone.” Indeed, it appears that Kendall was wrongly accused; as Maiysha Kai notes on The Root, “textured hair does not an afro—or appropriation—make (because there are actually white folks who possess that texture, too).”
When Kim K considered being called “anorexic” a compliment
The Kardashians have a long history of promoting disordered eating (see: their penchant for taking money to promo appetite-suppressing lollipops and diet teas on Instagram), so we weren’t surprised by a recent exchange Kim posted to her IG stories. In the video, Kendall comments on Kim’s body saying, “No, I’m really concerned, I don’t think you’re eating. Like, you look so skinny.” Kim replies: “What?! Oh my God, thank you.” Khloé joins in, calling Kim’s waist “anorexic” and her arms “pin-thin,” which, to be clear, Khloé thinks looks “amazing.” The disturbing conversation glorifies disordered eating and unhealthy body standards. Say it with us, now, Kardashians: Being called “anorexic” is NOT a compliment. Oh, and also, sharing your weight—as Kim did in a later video, saying she’s “not that skinny”—can be incredibly triggering for people with eating disorders, so stop that too.
When Kim promoted her beauty collection and the internet called blackface
Her skin was definitely looking significantly darker…
When Kim compared herself to the Virgin Mary
Kim released a prayer candle on her Kimoji shop that depicted the reality star as the Virgin Mary. Yup, that’s right, Kim has compared herself to a biblical figure. Offended Catholics—and people who just know better—were quick to point out how disrespectful the candle is, and highlighted how sacred the Virgin Mary is in Catholicism. We’re betting Kim skipped most of her high school religion classes.
When Kendall saved the world with Pepsi
The now-pulled Pepsi commercial was so offensive for so many reasons, we’re shocked it even made it to air. Between trivializing Black Lives Matter to belittling police brutality, the ad was so wrong. The commercial shows Kendall modelling for a photo shoot when she notices a protest happening in the streets outside. Intrigued, the star joins the protestors—many of whom are people of colour—who are holding signs that feature vague slogans like, “Join the conversation” and “Peace.” After grabbing a Pepsi from a cooler, Kendall notices that angry-looking police are blocking the protestors. She hands a cop a Pepsi—a moment captured by a Muslim photographer wearing a hijab—and, like magic, the officer smiles. Success! Kendall has saved the day. The offending scene appears like it could have been modelled on the well-known photo of Ieshia Evans, a Black woman who stood peacefully before police during a protest in Baton Rouge, La., last year.
When Kim Snapchatted about minimum wage
Earlier this year, Kim posted a Snapchat of a poster that read, “You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.” It was classist garbage and we got real annoyed by it.
When Kim and Kanye played “middle-class”
A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on
In January 2017, the power couple were accused of “playing middle-class” in some lo-fi family photos.
When Khloé wore a headdress… twice
Khloé posed for pics in a Indigenous headdress at North West’s first b-day bash in 2014, which was themed “Kidchella.”
She also wore a headdress around the house while making out with a stuffed giraffe and filming Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Ugh, take a history lesson, Khlo.
When Kylie Wore cornrows
When Kylie posted a pic of her hair in cornrows, people were not impressed. The Hunger Games actor Amandla Stenberg responded to Jenner’s post by pointing out that she was appropriating Black culture while failing to empower Black Americans. That didn’t change her mind, though, as she still wears braids and sisters Khloé and Kim frequently sport the style, too.
When Khloé posed by the Fidel Castro monument in Cuba
Social media users fired back at the reality star, calling her uneducated and pointing out how many people suffered under the Castro dictatorship. One commentator said, “I guess Fidel is cool now? …. Ignorance or stupidity? I can’t decide.” Again, TAKE A HISTORY LESSON, KHLO!
When Kylie’s skin was darkened
People accused the 19-year-old of blackface, to which she replied “calm down,” and said her darkened skin tone was due to lighting. Sort of missing the point, Kylie.
When Scott tried to be funny?
And a Jew
A post shared by Scott Disick (@letthelordbewithyou) on
We can’t even.
This Is What Happens When You Kross a Kardashian
Anne T. Donahue on the Pepsi Implosion: Where’s Kendall’s Apology?
An Open Letter to Kim K, re: The Sexy Lie