Actress Laverne Cox is going on the defensive. After an appearance on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live stirred controversy on the Internet, Cox wrote a lengthy post on her Tumblr page to explain her thoughts on cultural appropriation.
A little backstory: Reality star Kylie Jenner posted a photo to Instagram over the weekend with her hair braided in cornrows. Actress Amandla Stenberg commented on the image, calling out Jenner for appropriating a black hairstyle while failing to “use your position of power to help black Americans.” Jenner responded with “go hang with Jaden [Smith] or something.” (Oh, burn.)
Fast forward to Sunday’s episode of Watch What Happens Live, where host Andy Cohen asked guests Cox and former Vogue Editor-at-Large Andre Leon Talley to comment on “white girls and cornrows” after naming the social media interaction between Stenberg and Jenner the “Jackhole of the week.” Talley and Cox both avoided engaging on the subject, which led many to call out both for failing to defend Stenberg.
And now, the news: On Tuesday, Cox took to her Tumblr page to clarify her thoughts on cultural appropriation, Stenberg, and Bo Derek.
Cox praised Stenberg’s command of the subject of cultural appropriation—as seen in a video featuring the Hunger Games star talking about black hair—and posed additional questions about the co-opting of styles associated with black culture without acknowledgment of the source.
“How do we lovingly make people aware of that history and the potential affects of cultural appropriation that further marginalize and stigmatize those already the most adversely affected by systems that disadvantage certain experiences, bodies and identities over others?” Cox asks.
The Orange is the New Black star didn’t apologize for not weighing in on the interaction, which many have dubbed an “Internet feud,” and white women rocking black hairstyles in general saying she needed more than “10 seconds or less” to properly engage.
Read the whole post at her Tumblr page.