Laverne Cox Pens Open Letter on Cultural Appropriation After Amandla Sternberg Backlash

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After getting slammed by Black Twitter for sitting idly by while “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen called 16-year-old Amandla Stenberg a “Jackhole” over her comments on Kylie Jenner‘s blatant cultural appropriation, actress Laverne Cox is finally speaking up on the issue.

The transgender woman of color got attacked by many who felt she didn’t play her part as a Black woman when Andy poked fun at Amandla’s stance on Kylie Jenner’s cultural appropriation.

Since then Laverne has taken to her blog to openly address the issue of cultural appropriation, and explain why she wasn’t so vocal about it on air.

Via: LaverneCox

When in answer to Andy Cohen’s question on “Watch What Happens Live” on July 12, “White girls and cornrows, yay or nay? “I said what I said in an attempt to not get involved in what I understood at the time to be an Instagram feud between someone with whom I was not familiar and Kylie Jenner on the topic of cultural appropriation. I have never been interested in getting involved in any celebrity feuds.In that moment, I also felt that the topic of cultural appropriation needs way more than the 10 seconds or less I had to respond at the end of the show to fully unpack. I said as much to Andre Leon Tally after the cameras stopped rolling. So on camera with seconds left in a live broadcast I said, “Bo Derek” the first iconic example of a white woman wearing cornrows I could think of. To be clear I understood when I said, “Bo Derek” that her rocking of cornrows with beads in the 1979 film “10” and that look on her subsequently becoming a cultural phenomenon when the black folks who had been rocking cornrows for decades before her had not similarly become a sensation is an example of the ways in which what bell hooks calls imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal systems privilege certain bodies’ performances of cultural traditions over others. This is when cultural appropriation can tend to erase the marginalized people from whom the culture emerges.
Many are taking me to task for not defending Amandla Stenberg who I now know is a 16 year old black actress known for her work in the “Hunger Games” who has spoken out quite eloquently on the topic of cultural appropriation. In researching Amandla’s work and words, I was very impressed with a video I saw from her on cultural appropriation where she chronicled a recent history of cultural appropriation and black hair specifically.

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(https://youtu.be/O1KJRRSB_XA)

I was most moved by the question she poses at the end of her video, a question I, too, have asked from lecture stages. “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?”

Andy Cohen has also apologized to Amandla over his insensitive comments on the real issue behind cultural appropriation.

Don’t know how this all started from a pic of Kylie’s struggly ass cornrows but…….