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Marc Jacobs's Infuriating Response to Dreadlock Controversy


His decision to feature models with dreadlocks may have been questionable, but there's little debating the cluelessness that came after.

When out fashion designer Marc Jacobs featured models strutting down New York runways sporting multi-colored dreadlocks this week, some called it "cultural appropriation" of African-American hairstyles and culture. Instead of highlighting his choice of multi-ethnic models or discussing the inspiration for the look (trans filmmaker Lana Wachowski) or even appreciating the differing views of others, Jacobs got defensive and offensive.

Writing on Instagram, Jacobs said: "All who cry 'cultural appropriation' or whatever nonsense about any race or skin color wearing their hair in any particular style or manner -- funny how you don't criticize women of color for straightening their hair. I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don't see color or race -- I see people."

The worst part wasn't the end of the quote -- though it's easy for white people to say they don't see "color" or "race" -- but him bringing up women of color straightening their hair. It's strange that Jacobs didn't see the difference in the possible co-opting of minority looks and minority women being pressured to conform to white, Eurocentric beauty standards (see the winner of this year's Miss America, for example). There are real life repercussions when black women buck the mainstream trend and wear natural hair, including being fired from jobs.

As Complex writer Mikelle Street eloquently put it, "...the widespread adaptation of straightened hair in the black community is something that has been forced upon the community due to beauty ideals based on white archetypes."

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