While Amadla Stenberg initially rose to prominence portraying Rue in The Hunger Games, this year her oral history of cultural appropriation, 'Don't Cash Crop on my Cornrows' went viral. The video, conceived with a classmate for a school project, saw Amandla explain that black hairstyles aren't simply a stylistic choice, but an integral part of black culture foregrounded by a long history. When white people cherry pick an aspect of black culture for their own use, like cornrows, but ignore the culture that created their 'edgy' hairstyle - it's appropriation. Amandla puts it, "Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture they are partaking in."
Yesterday, when Kylie Jenner Instagrammed a photo of herself wearing cornrows, Amandla commented to explain the problem at hand.
"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."
While Kylie's Kardashian half-sisters have Armenian heritage, she is caucasian. Kylie responded by suggesting Amandla hang out with prom date Jaden Smith.
"@amandlastenberg Mad if I don't, Mad if I do…. Go hang w Jaden or something."
Text Isabelle Hellyer