via Refin­ery29

Marc Jacobs found him­self at the cen­ter of anoth­er con­tro­ver­sy after his fash­ion show fea­tured mod­els in pas­tel faux-dread­locks. Many took to social media to express annoy­ance, par­tic­u­lar­ly because Jacobs cred­it­ed Boy George, Mar­i­lyn Man­son, Lana Wachows­ki, Hara­juku girls and rave cul­ture as inspi­ra­tions for the look — total­ly ignor­ing the mil­lions of black and brown peo­ple who wear locs world­wide. Oth­ers won­dered why he didn’t just use most­ly black mod­els if locs were the look he was going for. Keep in mind, too, that Marc Jacobs incor­po­rat­ed ‘twist­ed mini buns’ (aka ban­tu knots) into his 2015 show and — again — gave no cred­it or ref­er­ence to black cul­ture.

This might have all just blown over as anoth­er exhaust­ing case of appro­pri­a­tion had Jacobs not respond­ed to his crit­ics with some ques­tion­able log­ic. In a now-delet­ed Insta­gram post, he had stern words for those who “cry” cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion:

via Refin­ery29

He states,

“all who cry ‘cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion’ or what­ev­er non­sense about any race of skin col­or wear­ing their hair in any par­tic­u­lar style or man­ner — fun­ny how you don’t crit­i­cize women of col­or for straight­en­ing their hair.”

Not only is this log­ic flawed and lazy, it’s dan­ger­ous. Straight hair is not cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion — it was and still is a means of assim­i­la­tion to a dom­i­nant cul­ture that often pun­ish­es black women for wear­ing their hair in its nat­u­ral­ly kinky, curly and coily tex­ture. Black women are still being fired from jobs, kicked out of schools and — until recent­ly — kicked out of the mil­i­tary for wear­ing nat­ur­al hair styles. Black girls in South Africa — in an AFRICAN coun­try — are fight­ing against a neo-colo­nial cul­ture for the right to wear their hair nat­u­ral­ly to school.

Per­haps most egre­gious is that Jacobs pulled the “I don’t see race” card. Fun­ny that his col­or blind­ness doesn’t extend to his line of foun­da­tions, which is VOID of match­es for dark skin…

Marc Jacobs' foundations... Are these the only colors he sees?
Marc Jacobs’ line of foun­da­tions… It seems the only thing he is ‘blind’ to is dark skin…

And let me be clear — not “see­ing” race is a form of white priv­i­lege that com­plete­ly ignores racism, main­ly for the sake of the white per­son feel­ing more com­fort­able about how they treat oth­ers. Black peo­ple don’t have the lux­u­ry of not see­ing race, because we’re remind­ed of it every­day by the way we’re treat­ed — espe­cial­ly in the beau­ty indus­try. Social media users were on hand to give Jacobs a strong read…

Please come again Marc because this non­sense isn’t cut­ting it.
UPDATE 9/18/16: Marc Jacobs has now post­ed an “apol­o­gy” to Insta­gram address­ing the con­tro­ver­sy.

By this non-apol­o­gy apol­o­gy, it seems that he still does not under­stand the issues peo­ple have with his actions and com­ments. That’s unfor­tu­nate.


Elle is the edi­tor and cre­ative direc­tor of the YouTube chan­nel and blog, Quest for the Per­fect Curl at Her chan­nel focus­es on nat­ur­al hair, beau­ty, and fit­ness. She loves prod­ucts that smell like dessert, yoga, and glit­ter. Fol­low her @qftpc.

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33 Comments on "Marc Jacobs: ‘I Shouldn’t Be Criticized for Copying Black Styles Because Black Women Straighten Their Hair’"

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[…] of say­ing that I am remote­ly an expert on the top­ic, or even dream I real­ly under­stand things (Here is a much bet­ter arti­cle on the prob­lem than I could ever write and impor­tant to read to under­stand […]


Celtics had dread­locks.


No, they didn’t. The Celtics wore mat­ted hair styles, but they were not dread­locks.


That’s a sil­ly dis­tinc­tion.


Uh, who were those upper foun­da­tions made for? Vam­pires? So u can make shades for the undead but not for black women? Yeah, you don’t see colour.


I’ve nev­er seen a pure blood­ed black per­son with straight hair.
We have tight­ly coiled kink Afro hair, where do you guys find these straight haired ‘Black’ peo­ple?


Also I think describ­ing a black per­son as pure blood­ed gets prob­lem­at­ic for me since what does that real­ly mean? I’m not polic­ing lev­els of black­ness in black folks to that degree. My fam­i­ly has Euro­pean DNA in our blood­line yet we are black.


I have. East Africa.

Lauray Co. Clothing
For some black women straight­en­ing their hair is not for fash­ion or to be trendy but because the soci­ety we live in does not appre­ci­ate the black women’s hair in its nat­ur­al state. We can see this in the recent court hear­ing that ruled dis­crim­i­na­tion against those who have dreads in job inter­views legal. There is also the com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that nat­ur­al hair styles are con­nect­ed with the lack of pro­fes­sion­al­ism. For these rea­sons black women straight­en their hair so they won’t be judged. While Marc Jacobs was using black hair­styles as means of fash­ion and not neces­si­ty. -Lau­ray Co.… Read more »

Appar­ent­ly the peo­ple who rescind­ed a job offer because the young lady wore them

Eden Everly

Dread­locks don’t belong to one cul­ture. The Celts wore them. Stop your shit now! Just as harm­ful to our world and to our rela­tion­ships.

“Wrong. The prob­lem is that you’re lump­ing togeth­er a whole bunch of things that are not dread­locks: don’t look like dread­locks, aren’t called dread­locks, don’t have the same social/historical mean­ing as dreadlocks;all in the same cat­e­go­ry like they’re the same thing. That’s a form of cul­tur­al era­sure, and it’s not accu­rate. The only con­firmed mat­ted (not dread­ed) hair­styles of Europe were the glibbe and the pli­ca polonica,neither of which look any­thing like dread­locks. And the Vikings were stick­lers for hav­ing untan­gled hair, to the point where they kept combs on them at all times (which they were even­tu­al­ly buried with,… Read more »

Hair belongs to the per­son not the race. Whether you want to go nat­ur­al straight­en it dye it curl it dread it what­ev­er is your choice. Youre not lim­it­ed or banned from cer­tain hair­styles because you are/arent from a cer­tain race or cul­ture.

Lets not start an issue out of noth­ing




I also wrote about this on my blog. I wasn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly both­ered by his use of faux locs, but I was extreme­ly upset about the fact that he actu­al­ly had the gall to com­pare white women wear­ing faux locs with social­ly accept­able hair tucked under­neath to black women straight­en­ing their hair in order to have access to jobs and oth­er resources. Boy, bye.

Publix Subs

lol @ racist blacks think­ing nobody else has ever had dread­locks or they own a cer­tain hair type OR style.

Sabrina black

Any of the com­ments that dis­agrees with his oppo­si­tion, I’m with you. Someone’s right. Assim­i­la­tion is not cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion.


[…] Anoth­er exam­ple of cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion is the won­der­ful fash­ion show put on by Marc Jacobs and his com­plete­ly log­i­cal response and bul­let­proof argu­ment. One of my favorite blogs wrote a post on the sub­ject last week. You can find their arti­cle here . […]


Dread­locks belong to NOONE!! Rasta­fari belongs to NOONE. Locks have his­tor­i­cal­ly been worn by ALL races. It is not exclu­sive to Black/African peo­ple. Has any­one asked RASTAFARIANS how they feel about this? Dread­locks and Rasta­fari are a way of life. There are now more “loc-ed” hair­styles on per­sons who do not sub­scribe to Rasta­fari than Rasta­far­i­ans with locs. If BGLH wants to tack­le this issue, then they (BGLH) need to speak to the real stake hold­ers, i.e. the Rasta­far­i­an com­mu­ni­ty or communities/people/races who have a his­to­ry of loc-ing their hair.


No, dread­locks have not his­tor­i­cal­ly been worn by all races. They have tra­di­tion­al­ly and his­tor­i­cal­ly been worn by brown peo­ples with kinkier/curlier tex­tured hair.


Say­ing dread­locks are cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion of black peo­ple is like say­ing using a bow and arrow is cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion of native amer­i­cans. Dead­locks can be found in near­ly every cul­ture since the dawn of time. it only requires hair.


Prove it. There’s a dif­fer­ence between dred locks and mat­ted hair. One requires a curl pat­tern.

Professor Genki

Who the hell cares who wears Dreds and who doesn’t?

Reina Benoir

Marc Jacobs needs to keep Black women out of his argu­ment on this like he kept us out of his show.

Deanna Jackson

You can’t appro­pri­ate some­thing you do for sur­vival or to fit in with the dom­i­nant cul­ture so they need to stop with the “Black girls straight­en their hair” bull­shit. Assim­i­la­tion is NOT cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion. Also, black women DO get crit­i­cized for straight­en­ing our hair. We get called “Negro­pean” and have oth­er dis­parag­ing remarks against us. I keep my hair in its nat­ur­al state and in some cas­es, we get fired or called “unpro­fes­sion­al” for wear­ing our nat­ur­al hair. Stu­dents get sus­pend­ed and/or expelled from school for wear­ing their nat­ur­al hair.


Marc Jacobs is a manip­u­la­tor. He wants to con­trol every­one. He’s
tor­tur­ing a tal­ent­ed young design­er named Angel Bar­ta for 7 years. He
copied her work for many brands with­out giv­ing her any cred­it. Read the
truth about him at stylean­gelique blogspot


An impor­tant point to add (that seems to have been missed in all this) is that many black women are born with straight hair. Most Soma­lians and Nige­riens (not Nige­ria but Niger: a land­locked coun­try in west africa) have nat­u­ral­ly straight hair. So no, straight is not even remote­ly cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion.


sor­ry but as a Niger­ian I have nev­er seen a Niger­ian with straight and I lived there for 8 years it might be relaxed hair or 4c hair that looks straight. But if there is how? just curi­ous!


Plen­ty of non-black/brown peo­ple also have nat­u­ral­ly curly hair that can become dreadlocks…so how is wear­ing dread­locks cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion then? Accord­ing to your argu­ment, it isn’t.


Yes. Straight hair is not a white thing.

CocoSheaNut by Ayo

what an idiot


Not that I sup­port his stance. But I pur­chased some foun­da­tion from his line when it first debuted and it had sev­er­al dark shades. And before any­one says any­thing, I am dark skinned. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I rarely wore the foun­da­tion because it wasn’t for­mu­lat­ed for oily skin. Now as for his comment…there’s a fine line between appre­ci­a­tion and appro­pri­a­tion. He crossed it AGAIN.

He and many like him are clue­less as to the racial inequal­i­ties and dynam­ics in this coun­try. Specif­i­cal­ly with locs, seems like every­one dusts off their anthro­pol­o­gy degrees, talk­ing about whichev­er reli­gion Indi­an sects have been lock­ing their hair for cen­turies. We’re not talk­ing about them. We’re not talk­ing about the 1700s. We’re talk­ing about CURRENT pol­i­cy in schools and at busi­ness that specif­i­cal­ly tar­get black styles like locs, braids, twists, and Afros.  As this arti­cle states, peo­ple have suf­fered real con­se­quences for wear­ing their hair nat­ur­al. Straight­en­ing hair and any­thing viewed as “nor­mal” or “aver­age” is part of assim­i­la­tion. If… Read more »