Why Kim Kardashian West’s Cornrows Are Problematic

By Victoria Adegboyega, Instagram: @stylemavenworld

When I first saw Kim Kardashian’s cornrows on my Instagram feed, my initial reaction was ‘cool hair.’

I gave it that double-tap, and continued scrolling.


A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

As with most social media moments, I hadn’t really given myself the time to think about it as anything more than a stylish image – and I had not, at that stage, read the caption, where she credited the style to Bo Derek.

After seeing everything, here’s my view.

The braids looked great – we can’t deny that. But with the social unrest that has become increasingly prevalent in society, I can certainly see why people feel offended by the fact that Kim’s style of braid wasn’t accredited to its origin.

It’s a simple case of give credit where credit is due.

The braid which Kim wears so proudly actually originates from the Fulani tribe in Nigeria – which just so happens to be my country – and it has huge cultural importance.

I asked my friends what they thought and we all seemed to be in agreement: why can’t our culture be celebrated for the world to see?

Having grown up being told my own hairstyle wasn’t ‘presentable’ or ‘pretty’, but now seeing the very same style of braids – such as those that have been classed as ‘boxer braids’ – becoming popular without any reference to their original background, isn’t cool.

The beauty of cultural differences is that you get to learn and explore traditions that are different to your own.

The moral of the story is, when you are as influential as Kim, it’s your obligation to be socially aware and take the time to educate yourself.

Especially when it comes to understanding cultures that you want to borrow from.