Kim Kardashian Is Accused of ‘Blackfishing’ Again Over Braids at Yeezy Show

Kim Kardashian West has long been accused of appropriating Black culture, but she doesn’t seem to have learned any lessons from the widespread outrage at her former antics. In fact, many are now speculating that the reality TV star and online influencer is intentionally choosing to dress in ways that will raise accusations of “blackfishing.” Is she truly blind to the way that her actions are perceived? Or is she simply “fishing” for attention? 

Kim Kardashian West is among many celebrities who have been accused of appropriation

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Flash Back to my shoot with Vanessa Beecroft

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Kardashian is not the only celebrity who has been accused of “blackfishing,” which is the term used to refer to people intentionally portraying themselves as a race other than their own. It’s usually done through posting photographs on social media that use lighting or filters to darken the skin or by wearing hair and clothing styles traditionally associated with a specific racial group. 

Cardi B is another celebrity who has found herself caught up in accusations of this kind of appropriation. Kardashian’s little sister, Kylie Jenner, has herself been at the center of a blackfishing scandal.

The practice is also widespread among less famous social media users, and that’s part of the reason that celebrities are so harshly criticized for doing it. They’re adding to a culture of borrowing aesthetic elements from marginalized communities. 

Blackfishing is culturally harmful

Kim Kardashian attends the Louis Vuitton Menswear Spring/Summer 2019 show.
Kim Kardashian | Chesnot/WireImage

Cultural critics point out that many women who are actually Black are still being discriminated against because of their appearance. It’s hurtful to see someone make a costume out of their natural hairstyles — hairstyles that are often still not allowed in workplaces or schools.

They also say that this appropriation takes opportunities away from women of color. It’s harder for actual women of color to become influencers and social media marketers among these personas. 

Dara Thurmond, a nurse from New York, talked to the BBC about the problem and explained the harm of blackfishing. She explained that people who are pretending to be Black on social media don’t understand or contend with “the struggle that black women go through just to be accepted as who they are.” 

Kim Kardashian is at the center of debates about ‘blackfishing’ 

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Yeezy Season 8

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Almost every article about blackfishing will mention Kardashian at some point. She is often seen as one of the most influential and high-profile blackfishing celebrities. She has long been accused of appropriating black culture, and her previous instances have included a magazine cover that featured a photograph of her with darkened skin. 

It appears that she is once again appropriating elements of Black culture. She recently posted photos of herself sporting braids. She was on the way to husband Kanye West’s show and apparently wore the style to “match” her biracial daughter North’s hairstyle for the event. 

Adding fuel to the fire that Kardashian is merely choosing to portray herself in this way to drum up outrage and attention is the fact that she simultaneously posted a “throwback” picture of herself in “Bo Derek braids,” a previous act that had gotten a lot of backlash for cultural appropriation.

Kardashian surely knew that posting either photo — let alone both together — would bring up new accusations of cultural appropriation. At this point, it seems likely that the star simply doesn’t care what others have to say about her style choices.

Either that or she is actively seeking out a way to stay relevant and get press coverage. After all, the Kardashian family members are experts at managing their own image and making a career out of being famous, and they seem to live by the saying that there’s no such thing as bad press.