Kim Kardashian West has been accused of cultural appropriation after crediting actress Bo Derek as the inspiration for her cornrows – which she even dubbed ‘Bo Derek braids’ – and now the woman she name-checked is coming to the reality star’s defense.
Derek, 61, wore the hairstyle — known as Fulani braids, after the Fulani women of East and West Africa — in the 1979 film 10, which featured an iconic scene of the star running down a beach.
Kardashian West, 37, wore the same type of braids — also known as cornrows — in several Snapchat and Instagram posts this week and called herself “Bo West.”
The actress tweeted on Thursday, revealing where she got the idea from, writing, “Hey! It’s just a hairstyle that I wore in the movie “10” @KimKardashian calls it the Bo Derek because she copied my pattern of braids.”
She continued, “I copied it from Ann-Margret’s backup singer from her Vegas Sho [sic]. And we all copied Queen Nofretari. I hope Her Royal Highness is flattered.”
Derek might be referring to the Egyptian Queen Ahmose-Nofretari, sometimes known as Ahmose-Nefertari, who was buried with braids. Historically, she is depicted as wearing her hair in braids but not cornrows. She the first queen of the 18th dynasty in Egypt.
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Braids and cornrows have long been a hairstyle worn by black men and women and historically have been worn in African and Caribbean countries.
Recently, the hairstyles have become popular outside of the black community, but those wearing them have dubbed them “boxer braids” or in Kardashian West’s case, “Bo Derek braids,” without recognizing the styles’ history and origins and framing the looks as something new or edgy.
Hours after posting a flurry of near-nude photographs with her hair in cornrows, the mother of three shared a photo of herself reclining on a bed with a phone pressed to her ear with the caption, “Hi, can I get zero f—s please, thanks.”
Several people on social media took issue with Kardashian West’s cornrows, crediting them to the Fulani women of Africa.
“They are called Fulani braids or some may even say cornrows,” one user wrote. “You could of called them either one but you called them ‘Bo Derek’ giving credit to a white woman for a black style knowing you already catch heat for culture vulturing.”
Kardashian West’s sister Khloé tweeted her support Monday night, writing, “I am squealing like a little pig looking at all of Kimberly’s Instagram’s from the day! Oh my God is she not sooooooo on fire right now? FEELING THE FANTASY.”
She added in a separate tweet, “Between her pictures and her clap backs…. I’m just living for it all. Confidence looks great on you Keeks.”