Kim Kardashian addresses blackfishing, cultural appropriation accusations: 'I've learned and grown over the years'

·4-min read

Kim Kardashian is addressing claims that she's appropriated Black culture, sharing in a new interview with i-D magazine that she never meant to do so.

"Obviously, I would never do anything to appropriate any culture," she said in response to a question about navigating accusations of blackfishing. "But I have in the past got backlash from putting my hair in braids and I understand that. Honestly, a lot of the time it comes from my daughter asking us to do matching hair."

It was back in 2018 that Kardashian was criticized for wearing her hair in Fulani braids and referring to the style as "Bo Derek braids" after another white woman who stole the look from African culture. Still, Kardashian explained to i-D that she's had conversations with her 8-year-old daughter North West about wearing different hairstyles.

"I’ve had these conversations with her that are like, 'Hey, maybe this hairstyle would be better on you and not on me.' But I also want her to feel that I can do a hairstyle with her and not make it that big of a deal either if that's something that she's really asking for, and really wants," the 41-year-old mother of four explained. "But I've learned and grown over the years and figured out good ways to communicate with all my kids about all this. I’ve definitely learned over time, and I’ve tried to pass that culture of learning onto my kids too."

She added, "but then there's also a history of braiding hair in Armenia, and people forget that I am Armenian as well."

Hairstyles and photo editing aren't the only things that have landed Kardashian in hot water. In fact, she also faced backlash when she first launched her shapewear line SKIMS under the name Kimono.

"I came up with the Kimono name because it was a play on my name, and because I was so inspired by Japanese culture. To me, it was just paying homage to it, but I quickly realized that it wasn't being seen that way," she told i-D.

At the time of the initial launch in July 2019, Kardashian was accused of showing "zero respect" to Japanese culture and was encouraged to "reconsider" the brand's name by Kyoto, Japan, Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa.

"It was a really quick decision," she told the publication of rebranding to SKIMS. "I would never intentionally try to appropriate the culture in that way. It wasn’t my intention at all. So I just was like, 'Okay, shut it down. It doesn’t matter that we have so much product already. We have to figure this out. We need to take our time and slow down for a second and figure it out and change the name.'"

While the Kardashians have rarely addressed claims of cultural appropriation and have even denied their role in promoting unattainable beauty standards, Kim assured readers that she and her family are "absolutely in on the joke" when it comes to the various ways that people poke fun at them.

"We always have been. It is what it is. I especially couldn’t really give a f*** what anyone ever says and thinks," she said, explaining that making that point was top of mind when she signed on to do Saturday Night Live. "I was just like, 'Listen, if I’m going to do this, I want you guys to know we're in on this. This is what we talk about when we’re at home.' We have a sense of humor. We roast each other as a family all day long. None of us are sensitive to it. I wanted people to see a part of my personality that all my friends know, that everyone close to me knows. But you know, SNL was a completely different audience for me. It was my opportunity. I wanted to show people that this is funny, and this is a big side of my personality too. And it was fun."

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