Cosmopolitan is facing some serious backlash on social media after posting a video to Facebook showcasing a white woman getting her hair braided into cornrows and calling them “double mohawk braids.” The publication made things considerably worse by making the headline of the video “You’ve NEVER seen braids like this before” seeking to claim that its audience has never seen a hairstyle with a long history in African and African-American culture.
According to Style.Mic, many of the comments called out Cosmopolitan’s lack of diversity and inclusion, and strongly urged the magazine to get more “ethnic” writers. Many commenters also saw this video as a way for Caucasians to appropriate African-American culture. One commenter even said: “Umm I’ve seen this braid before Cosmo. Trying to sell it off as a new white invention of ours is deeply unethical. Cultural theft never looks cute.”
The look is also very similar to one we found from 2005, sported by Lydia Hearst during the Fashion for Relief which raised money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New York during Fashion Week.
Fashion magazines have historically taken credit for “trends” that have existed for years, decades, or even centuries in the African-American/Black communities.
Marie Claire claimed braids on Kendall Jenner to be “epic” back in 2014. The same year, the LA Times reported cornrows to be the hot new trend, but only mentioned white actresses.
Cosmo added a note to their post stating, “*A note from the editors: Many of you have commented on this video and the language used to promote it. We take your feedback seriously and we apologize. We can and will do better.”