The trans star talks cultural appropriation, bell hooks and Kylie Jenner in a new blog post
Laverne Cox is widely regarded as a key spokesperson for trans issues, but has waded into the Amandla Stenberg versus Kylie Jenner debate. ICYMI: Jenner uploaded an Instagram of herself wearing cornrows, along with the caption "I woke up like disss".
Stenberg replied in the comments section: "When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter"
Justin Bieber may have leapt to Kylie Jenner’s defence but Laverne Cox is firmly on Stenberg’s side. Writing on Tumblr she said:
“Far too often culture is appropriated without an understanding of the history and hardships from which that culture emerges. How do we lovingly make people aware of that history and the potential affects of cultural appropriation that further marginalize and stigmatize those already the most adversely affected by systems that disadvantage certain experiences, bodies and identities over others? These are points Amandla makes beautifully in her video.”
“We live in a multi-cultural society where being influenced by cultures different from ours is inevitable. But when the traditions and practices of marginalized communities are used by those in power and the material conditions of those who are marginalized are not changed individually and systemically this is when cultural appropriation is deeply problematic and even potentially exploitative.”
Amandla talks in her video about how white people have appropriated black culture to look "cool" without publicly challenging the hardships that black people face and being ignorant of the history the culture was borne out of. As both Laverne Cox and Stenberg have said: "What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?"