Hosted by Teenvogue.com Borrowing from other cultures has never been trendier—or more taboo. From afros to cornrows, henna to headdresses, cultural appropriation is a trending topic on the tips of tongues everywhere. (To get caught up on the conversation, look no further than Amandla Stenberg’s brilliant, critically acclaimed video Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows where she breaks it all down.) The countless call-outs, egregious offenses, and heated debates swirling on social media ignited an important dialogue within the Teen Vogue office: Where does cultural appropriation end and cultural appreciation begin? We asked seven real girls—with epic hair!—to weigh in. Here, in their own words, inspiring young women reclaim their beauty looks with an ode to the cultures they came from.
Kyemah McEntyre on her Afro:
“I am African American. The reason I wear my hair in an Afro is because I think it expresses exactly who I am, where I come from, and the people who have paved the way for me. I used to have a perm but I asked my mom to cut it off when I was in seventh grade. I’m superhuge on expression and individuality. I found it very difficult to be myself because I was comparing myself to others who had straight hair. There are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about black people and black hair. We shouldn’t have to question wearing our natural hair to a job interview; I wish people just understood how strong and beautiful it is. I think cultural appreciation is about understanding that you can’t just take aesthetic properties from a culture. Our hair is not an accessory. It’s literally who we are.” @mindofkye_
Daunnette Reyome on her feather:
Check out the others it’s really powerful and inspiring: