Once more, it's down to their clothing line
Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
Kendall and Kylie Jenner have been accused of cultural appropriation several times over the course of their career, but the last year has been particularly controversial for the pair. Back in April, a Pepsi advert featuring supermodel Kendall was pulled after less than 24 hours after attracting criticism for its ‘tone deaf’ and flippant take on the often violent relations in America between police and Black Lives Matter protesters.
Just months later, Kendall was embroiled in another controversy – this time alongside her little sister, Kylie. The pair released t-shirts to their clothing line, Kendall + Kylie, which featured their own faces overlaid on images of dead rappers, Biggie and Tupac. While the move was deemed racially insensitive, it then came to light that the youngest members of the Jenner clan had not asked the rappers’ estates for permission to use the iconic pictures.
And once more, Kendall and Kylie are being accused of cultural appropriation, and once more, it has everything to do with their clothing line.
Twitter user @lipstickittty screenshotted and shared an image from the Kendall + Kylie Instagram account, and soon many were claiming that the sisters are specifically appropriating ‘Chola culture’. According to The Guardian, it is described as ‘a specific subculture of first- and second-generation Mexican American girls influenced by hip-hop, enamoured with lowrider cars, and sometimes associated with gangs.’
The issue for many lies in the fact that Kendall and Kylie are not part of that subculture, and will be directly profiting from it through the sale of their clothing. While several celebrities have adopted this look in the past, from Rihanna to Gwen Stefani, it was the final straw for the woman behind the tweet, Ashley Sherango.
She told Refinery29: ‘I first saw the image on the explore page and I immediately noticed something was wrong when I saw that it was posted on the @kendalandkylie page. What bothers me is that they don’t ever come up with their own original ideas. They are always taking ideas from others and never give credit.
‘Aside from being unoriginal, it’s definitely irritating to see these girls making money off a culture they know absolutely nothing about. When we —Latinas and Xicanas— dress in flannels and big pants, we get profiled and frowned upon. But when they do it, it’s ‘fashion’.’
The original tweet has been liked over 5,000, with many Twitter users agreeing with Ashley that the sisters need to be more racially sensitive in the future.
Ashley continued: ‘They can educate themselves by interacting with us (Latinas/Xicanas) but even then, it still wouldn’t make it okay for them to be selling clothes that look identical to what Cholas in the 80’s and 90’s would wear.
‘I don’t know their thought process but I really hope they will learn from this experience and take time to re-evaluate their strategy when it comes to putting together designs.’