Justin Bieber is now sporting dreadlocks, a look some critics have blasted as culturally insensitive. But is it racist or is it just a form of self-expression?
“It’s troubling as yet another instance of a white celebrity appropriating a traditionally black hairstyle,” wrote Fashionista, which wondered if “celebrities and designers need to start hiring cultural appropriation consultants to advise against things like dreads and cornrows.”
“Justin Bieber is one of the lieutenants of the cultural appropriation army. He outdid himself this week by rocking dirty, white guy dreads,” Bossip wrote. “Not only do they look dirty, but he’s just doing it because they look ‘cool’ without any understanding of what he’s doing.”
Radio and television personality Charlamagne Tha God posted this message on Twitter:
The issue has been in the news recently. A viral video of a black woman confronting a white man about his dreadlocks has sparked an investigation at San Francisco State University. In the video, the pair argue near a set of stairs in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
“You’re saying that I can’t have a hairstyle because of your culture?” the man asks in the video.
“Yeah,” the woman responds, “because it’s my culture.”
The pair argue over the origin of dreadlocks and she blocks his way as he tries to get past her and up some stairs.
Last year, Bravo host Andy Cohen was criticized after inserting himself into the feud between “Hunger Games” actress Amandla Stenberg and reality show personality Kylie Jenner over Kylie’s cornrows. Stenberg blasted them as culturally insensitive and later posted this video to further express her views:
“I want to apologize to Amandla,” Cohen later posted. “I didn’t understand the larger context of this cultural discussion and TRULY meant no disrespect to her or anyone else.”
Bieber’s known for trying out new looks and receiving responses via his social platforms, so maybe this one will pass soon.
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