My Thoughts on White Women Wearing Braids and Other Kinky Styles

boxbraidsThis topic has been quite controversial with all of the ruckus about supposedly “white people stealing the black culture and making it their own.” On social media, there has been quite a few topics on certain celebrities like the Kardashians getting plumped lips, butt surgeries, thick hair, etc.

Now for the braids phenomenon…there is a trend that has started among white women, and this trend (which has been apart of the black culture for centuries) has made the black women uncomfortable.

Of course, America is a place where all cultures co-exist, but some people of different cultures get quite offended when their symbolic clothing and hairstyles are used by others as a fashion trend.

What about braids, though? Should be black women be offended by the white women who choose to rock box braids, dread locks, flat twists, etc.?

We must first understand the history of braids:

Braids date back to 3500 BCE. Throughout history, braids established ethnicity, social status, even religious and marital status. The picture below is the ancient African cornrows.

The 1950s rolled around when a French ethnologist discovered a painting with a woman wearing cornrows and feeding her child. In the 1970s, cornrows came back in style in America.


Lovelyish.com

 

The ancient Egyptians wore braids to establish their royalty. Even common Egyptians wore braids, but the braids gave clues to the person’s divinity.

Lovelyish.com

Even Native Americans have braids as a part of their culture. Most of the Natives’ braided hairstyles symbolism remains a mystery, but the majority of the styles symbolize spiritual and physical war.

So how is all this relevant you ask? Well, I think it is more than just hair, its about culture and added hair has not been historically been apart of white culture.

Regardless of the history though, the fact that white women are going the extra mile by adding actually braiding hair to their braided hairstyles is a bit much to some black AND white women.

The concern was brought up on Instagram and two users replied to the post. One user, a black woman who’s a fashion and hair icon, Kenya (who wished for her account to remain anonymous) said these words:

“I love box braids, marley twists and any other protective hairstyles on black women. I think it’s a beautiful way to embrace our heritage and culture. I don’t even mind white women wearing them because it shows the influence black women have over other ethnics.

What I dislike is when white women emulate our hairstyles and change the name & call it “urban” as if they invented it. It’s just like (what) they’ve done for centuries, take something we’ve invented and claim it as their own.”

Another Instagram user, who is a white German woman, commented on the concern as well. Sandra quoted:

“I love braids and dreads, but now do I like them on whites? I do, but I wouldn’t wear them because I personally do not think it is my style. Where I am from, I will be judged if I wore braids. A lot of white women try to look (and act) like Americans. I’d be judged definitely. Hairstyles should look natural.”

Pixgood.com

 Now, the question is: do you think braids, dreads, etc should be strictly for blacks or are you one of those people who feel it just doesn’t matter?  

Originally posted 2015-01-05 20:00:24.

About Mykel Trent


Hi! I am Mykel, and I love life. I love performing, dance, acting, fashion, hair, etc. I have a Bachelor's in Communications Theatre. Theatre is the best and challenging major by far. It has taught me discipline, problem-solving, leadership, creativity, and so on. I like who I'm becoming! xo

About Mykel Trent


Hi! I am Mykel, and I love life. I love performing, dance, acting, fashion, hair, etc. I have a Bachelor's in Communications Theatre. Theatre is the best and challenging major by far. It has taught me discipline, problem-solving, leadership, creativity, and so on. I like who I'm becoming! xo

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Comments

    1. celine clayton

      their hair doesnt lay down to the scalp.. too damn flyaway.. so why copy.. braids are for blk hair..everything aint for everybody.

      1. shiela

        here is the issue with that . you people dont reolize that when black people where blonde hair, thats white people ahir color, yours is black . so what if white people got offended by that . so what . its their flippin head you know let them do it . its not hurting anyone
        (btw not being racist .i am black so dont @ me)

      2. Sara Jane

        I undercut with design too should I stop that also, I started that when I had to have brain surgery, it was rather mentally and emotionally healing for me to be able to have a lil fun with the inevitable. Please don’t be so close minded.

    2. Sara Jane

      Seriously this is an ignorant comment. The last thing this white girl does is wash her thick white girl hair daily. I often put braids in for convenience.

  1. Christa Benn

    I think braids and kinky hairstyles are cute on anyone. Hair texture n race makes no difference

  2. Markisha Tingle

    They can do what they want but the ones i know that do have really bad thinning with wearing braids i think if they have have super thick curly hair they would be safe

  3. Phoenix McGee

    White people with dreds confuse me. I asked a white friend and she was confused about it too. So I don’t care lol

  4. Joedy Rickard

    What type of question is this? It’s offensive. It’s like a white hair information blog questioning black women dying their hair blonde or straightening our hair. This question is offensive to all races.

    1. Joedy Rickard

      If you read the article, all the way to the end they ask what do you think about white women wearing braids or something in that sense.

    2. Donna

      There are Blacks throughout history who only not come in various shades, but in various hair textures. Black people have NATURALLY kinky, coily, curly, & straight hair. Having straight hair is not acting white…AND when Blacks do have, straight, curly, coily, kinky, blonde, reddish, etc. hair does not mean they are mixed with europeans.

      1. Jeremia

        having curly hair does not mean your black either.

    3. Neenee

      Having straight hair is not part of white culture my great-grandmother had straight hair and she was an African American woman my daughter also has a blonde streak through the front of her hair, you would be surprised our culture has many different hair textures and skin colors I’m not sure what white culture is I don’t think you guys have Traditions or cultural traditions as far as your hair, it just has to be washed daily.

  5. Christal Sanchez

    To the person who said that white people with dreads confuse you… Do black women with chemically straightened hair and weaves that mimic straight hair confuse you too? Smh. This topic is ridiculous.

  6. Andrea Angie Tater

    We wear blonde wigs and blue contacts lens in our eyes on dark skin so why not we look ridiculous so why not?….LOL

    1. Ballet Barbie

      Google blue eyed blonde hair black people. there are actually dark skin africans with actual piercing blue eyes and naturally LIGHT blonde hair…i’ll wait.

    2. Kay

      Hold on there. It’s 2015 and u guys dont know of africans who have NATURAL beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair????? Yes they do exist.

    3. Kay

      Hold on there. It’s 2015 and u guys don’t know of Africans who have NATURAL beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair????? Yes they do exist. So no we do not look ridiculous.Features do not define a race. And about this article, lighten up. So what if she wanted to talk about this article. If it’s not for u then pass it by. She made some very interesting and logical points in this article, and was only wanting to get ur opinion on a matter that’s obviously fueling some tension.If you are not bothered by the trend then say ur not and if u r ….etc. Me personally i don’t mind it. It’s ur hair so do ur thing.

  7. Nicketa Campbell Jones

    Really this is ridiculous black women pay thousands of dollars to get long weaves and bone straight hair so so what if a white woman does it
    What the difference

    1. celine clayton

      white women copy bootys , lips tan skin color,, ot makes a lot of difference because they have been racist for decades and may like they dont like blks SO WHY COPY..

      1. Carley Jones

        The white women that have braids or dreads obviously aren’t racist because if they were racist why would they would wear a “black” hairstyle. Not all white women
        have been “racist for decades”

  8. Melissa M. Seville

    I agree with the first response in the article. I don’t care what you do to your hair. It’s yours to do as you please. But, don’t go changing the name of the style as if it was something you yourself created. Give credit where credit is due. Which is the issue. Blacks, majority of the time if not all of the time never get the credit that is due to them. We tend to set the trend which others follow but never get recognized for it. Also, the part that confuses me is why add fake hair and braid it in? Example, the second picture in the article. Just braid your own hair. It would look much nicer and more realistic which is what you want.

  9. Debby Akhimie

    Why the hate and negative talk.Its their hair and they do whatever they desire on it. I see women with color wear weaves, relax their hair and the list is endless but no one is hating. Black or white we all have the same desire to have beautiful hair be it an extension or otherwise.

  10. Jamia Anewchapter Knox

    Omg. This is some stupid s**t. People dying innocently daily by police planes are disappearing and all you can up with today for a topic is white people wearing black hairstyles. Do Chinese complain when we eat their food?

  11. Michelle

    The black man loves white women in braids. In fact they love it when they get butt injections, lip injections and now braids. All the physicalities of a black woman without the black skin.

  12. kdf333

    wow. i am pleasantly surprised 99% of all the comments were “who cares?”. to be fair to the writer of the article, i have heard black women comment negatively on white folks that have dreads or synthetic braids. women in general don’t say much about weaves, wigs , or simple extensions added to hair because we either don’t notice them (if they are really good)or if we do we don’t see it as a race thing. but dreads and synthetic braid styles we do see race. i read it inthe blogs and i hear it when a white person with dreads walks by. so i am glad 99% of y’all commented “who cares/” but in my life i have heard/seen black women and men take offense because of a white person’s dreads.

  13. Kayla rogers

    Hold on there. It’s 2015 and u guys don’t know of Africans who have NATURAL beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair????? Yes they do exist. So no we do not look ridiculous.Features do not define a race. And about this article, lighten up. So what if she wanted to talk about this article. If it’s not for u then pass it by. She made some very interesting and logical points in this article, and was only wanting to get ur opinion on a matter that’s obviously fueling some tension.If you are not bothered by the trend then say ur not and if u r ….etc. Me personally i don’t mind it. It’s ur hair so do ur thing.

  14. Natural Beauty

    Dreadlocks on white people is ridiculous because they don’t look good with their hair type and they’re trying too hard to be Black. They look better with thicker, stronger Black hair. This is also goes for Black people with blond hair and weaves down to their butt, which is equally ridiculous.

  15. Lola

    This is beyond stupid! To sit there and say white women are copying black women by rocking braids is just ridiculous. Last time I checked all nationalities wear braids, yes mostly black women do, but it’s not solely one race. And I simply had to laugh at the users saying that white women get lip injections, butt injections, etc to look like them as well!! The most curvy women I know are NOT black. Middle eastern and Hispanic women also have these attributes so stop thinking certain characteristics are specifically for ONE race

  16. Alexis Bailey

    once upon a time a black woman or man straightening their hair was considered heresy and some felt like they were trying to be white…I think that a person has a right to express themselves. Hell half of my family looks like a box of crayons and different hair types. That makes no sense for me to state that you should look this way or another because you need to uphold a image for this race and etc. If someone is ignorant enough to hate on your style, then that’s a personal problem. Race or skin tone does not define someone’s character or personality and what they choose to do with themselves.

  17. sam

    What about white girls, like me, who have extremely thick, curly, frizzy hair? I’ve never done this because I don’t know if it would look good on me, but I imagine it would make managing my crazy hair so much easier.

    1. ad s

      lmao unless you are willing to live as a black person i don’t think u should even appropiate a part of black cultural heritage

      1. Lucy Thomas

        cornrows were used in pretty much all cultures, including celtic culture (an ancient white group of people), and hair is hair. she should be able to do whatever she wants.

      2. smh

        PREACH!! right dont come take our good stuff.. how about the bad shat!

  18. Mae West & The Dude

    I am white and wear them for functionality. Without box brads I have to wash my hair every 2 – 3 days. The braids make is so I can about 2 months without washing. This comes in super handy on long camping trips. Cornrows are great for SCUBA diving trips…may hair tends to get caught in my gear and tear out if I don’t wear them. Looser braided styles just come unraveled on me. I had no idea until coming across a few blogs that wearing those styles could be offending anyone.

  19. Lucy Thomas

    Braids have been used in every culture, including ancient white cultures (the Celtics were believed to have used cornrows). People should be able to wear their hair however they want.

  20. Anna

    Seriously? Now it’s not ok to be white and wear braids in my hair because they are offensive? Give me a break! African Americans (read: AMERICANS and HUMANS) did not INVENT braided hair. Or natural big butts for that matter. Just like I am not offended by black women who prefer to dye or straighten their hair (never said to myself “oh, they are stealing our white heritage by dying their hair. I’m so offended” Never even THOUGHT that), women should support each other and build each other up. Women should be able to wear their hair however they wish. White, black, purple, green or blue, if we see a do we think is cute and think we can pull it off, you know we are going to try it! LOL!!!

  21. Melanie

    I love twists and braids. I’m white. I would think that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. America is a melting pot. We are all people. We are all sisters. Let’s stop making divisions. Live and let live. When I had braids I got a lot of attention. Even more when I had dreads. Most of it wasn’t positive attention. But it’s my hair and I do what I think looks cute and is a fun change. If I were prejudice I wouldn’t wear black hair styles. The fact that I do shows that I’m not. I think white women wearing black styles shows friendship and oneness with all races. I also love to do henna and make Ukrainian Easter Eggs. I’m not black or Indian or Ukrainian. I’m American.

    1. smh

      bullcrap.. its only good now that you white women are copying and realizing our black beauty which has always been there.

  22. arya experienced

    I have read articles before about why white people shoulldn’t wear Afros, cornrows, dreadlocks, box braids etc. bc it’s cultural appropriation. But I didn’t think that braid in general were supposed to be just a Black thing, bc I’ve seen white girls wear braids all my life (I’ll admit, I even had my mom do it for me when I was younger). Was I being racist without knowing it? I’d really like to know because I want to experiment with my hair but I don’t want to offend anyone. So would having a braided hairstyle, like my queen Mary-Kate here, be considered cultural appropriation? Bc I’m a little confused. Maybe that means I really am ignorant. Anyway, if you tell me the truth, I promise I won’t be upset. Thanks.

  23. celine clayton

    I dont like the fact that ww wear braids now… do you know how many b;l women didnt get job or lost a job because they had their traditional heritage braided style.. uh i didnt think so..so NO i dont accept it ..white women copy too much to be so damn racist.

    1. Marie

      Sorry but now YOU are a racist to white people.

  24. Username

    As a 60-something white woman, I’m finding this entire discussion fascinating. I lived through the late 60s and 70s when cornrows and Afro hair dos were in vogue. If Stevie Wonder didn’t start the trend of men wearing cornrows as a fashion statement (Songs in the Key of Life came out in 1976), then he certainly helped make the style popular at that time. The Bo Derek movie “Ten” came out in 1979 and she was most definitely the first white woman celebrity to wear the style and make it popular in white culture. As for Afros, arguably Carol King’s style was an Afro (Tapestry, 1971) and many whites followed her (the singer Janis Ian, Art Garfunkel of Simon and Garfunkel, Epstein on Welcome Back Cotter, Barbra Streisand). I understand the “cultural appropriation” argument and I also see the “imitation is a form of flattery” argument. I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle of that.

  25. Tara Newman

    I am a nearly 18 year old caucasian girl, and I love the idea of box braids for the ease of taking care of and that it is so versatile, but also unique. It also takes care of annoying frizz for the ‘hard-to-control’ type of hair. I would love to get some after the end of school graduation and before the start of college, so it doesn’t interfere with events or occasions, but I also do not want it to offend people that associate box braids with a culture. Box braids are amazingly easy to take care of, but after reading this I might hang off until it becomes more socially acceptable… in saying that though, if people do not go out of their comfort zone and challenge society norms then nothing will change in societies expectations. In challenging expectations though, people also have to be culturally sensitive and respectful to those who hold it dear.

    I believe that anyone should have the right to wear their hair anyway they want as long as it is not intended (doesn’t mean that it won’t completely) to offend any culture, society or religion.

  26. Severa

    I feel that I must point out that ancient Europeans also braided their hair, spiked it, shaved both sides, etc. There have been bog mummies found with these hair styles, so you can’t really say that braids originate only from Africa.

  27. Marie

    Hi!

    I’m ‘a white girl’ from Belgium and i think That boxer brades are very beautiful!

    I should like of i had them to! But i understand That it’s dificult for people to let it go That boxer brades are for ‘Black woman’.

    And i don’t get it because we can’t be racist to ‘Black people’ or people from ‘other origins’

    But saying That boxer brades are not for White people of other people That are not ‘black’ is also racisme.

    Ik have a lot of respect for all people Whit EVERY skintone and i not wanna be a racist.

    But of you all guys say that White people can not be a racist and you are saying we cant ware what we like than you are a racist to!

    And i understand that you don’t like that they are calling it different, and i understand that also not if iam True.

    But we don’t say, that is for White people only, Black people can’t wear it. So don’t say that brades are only for ‘black people’ please.

    I hope that you guys understand that

    Btw sorry for the bad english

    1. Adult

      I love how people start out their comments with “I’m a white girl”, or I’m a black girl” etc… Or I don’t want to offend anyone… but…

      NO… I’m not playing that game… I’m an adult. I don’t need to get permission to have rights to my own body.

      Shoot, life’s too short not to be yourself. If you think you look good… go for it. You don’t need anyone’s permission (including mine) to exercise your right to freedom of self expression.

      If I want to straighten my hair… I will. If I want to braid my hair… I will. If someone wants to be offended by my hair… they will.

  28. brandie

    If a white woman or ANY other woman BESIDES. a black woman wants to wear braids in her damn hair she is perfectly able!!! Aint no such thing as a race “owning” a hairstlyle! Smh… thats ridiculous af. Its braids ppl!!! Who cares?.

  29. Dominica J Hart

    I am a Women! I am also a healthcare professional. I’m live in the good old midwest in a big city. I’m originally from a small town. I meet my ” soul sister” when I moved and she talked me into getting box braids. I have been wearing braids in my hair for the last year now, and I LOVE it.I get complements from all types of people… men, women, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, I mean everyone! Everywhere I go I have at least one person stop me and tell me that they like my hair. I love it when women ask me where I got it done at… and then we get to talking about baids… lol! I wear colors a lot of bright colors, and my residents love it. These are people going all the way up to there 90’s. It is more accepted then people think. I work in a very diverse facility, and I as a nurse supervisor am respected by everyone… braided hair and all. I have fellow employees that are “black” ask me questions about my hair. We talk products I recommend and where to get them on the cheap, I even have recently inspired a couple to get there braids done in colors. It truelly is awesome

    I do agree that it should not be renamed. That is not “urban”, those are box braids or twist or crochet. Yes many cultures have wore the individual braids but it is the African and then the African american cultures that have expanded upon it to what it is today. I respect that influence and talents that it has taken to make it what it is today. That demand respect!

  30. Taliah

    I’m mixed, they not making it they own. Y’all just getting pissed off and in y’all feelings. Yak know wear wigs and shit to look like white girl hair? Tf?

  31. Heather

    This topic is ridiculous… it’s hair. Black women can get a weave with other types of hair.. and white women can put braids. It’s all about personal preference. I do not understand how anyone can be offended by someone else’s hair choice.

  32. Jenna Kujawski

    I’m white. I know I don’t speak for everyone, but let me say that when I do things that are considered as or part of black culture, I’m not trying to do it as a trend or mock anyone in any way. I personally live around Detroit, where a lot of the population is of African descent. The culture around me — as well as anyone — changes the way I act, my clothing/hair preferences, etc. As a white girl who lives around many other cultures, African and other cultures fascinate me. I like to play around with styles from other cultures. Does this make me or other people who dabble in other cultures racist or biased towards other cultures? I don’t think so, as long we do it in a respectful manner. Yes, I have rocked a lot of traditional African hair styles, but I don’t go around trying to imitating Black stereotypes or mocking African culture. One of the biggest reasons I do it is simply because my hair can put up with those kinds of styles, so why not have some fun? I think it’s great to try out styles from different cultures as long as you are respectful of them. 🙂

  33. Sarah

    I came upon this article to see if it’s “okay” to get my hair braided. I have T H I C K unmanageable curly/wavy ginger hair. Like if I even brush it it poofs 4-5 inches out. Lookin like a goddamn lion. And this is WITH a undercut that removed about a 3rd of my hair. Also, I have some mental illness that drains me of energy. It takes so much to try to make it presentable that a big ass bun or pony tail is all I got. So I wanted to have it braided. At least then it would be gorgeous and I wouldn’t look homeless all the time.

    I just don’t want to hurt or upset anyone in the process.

    1. Alma Ruddock

      Hi Sarah. My personal opinion is “Do you”. If you feel that you could benefit from wearing an easy style like braids then go ahead and do so. HOWEVER, as you can see it’s a controversial subject and wearing the style alone may be a trigger to black people who think it’s not ok. Honestly, don’t expect to wear the braids for any length of time without expecting some comments, some of which may be negative. If you don’t feel that you could cope with that kind of thing then stay well away.

  34. Lisa Perez-Benitez

    I am a white woman considering getting box braids. I am not that young either – I am in my forties. The reason I am considering this is because my hair takes a lot of effort to style etc daily. I have frizzy hair that must either be straightened or curled. This takes me a good forty minutes each day and is damaging to my hair. My lifestyle has become increasingly busy and I just dont have the time. Box braids may be just the solution. I celebrate all cultures and races and believe that we can learn from one another while keeping it real about the origins of the good stuff we borrow from one another.

    1. Dianne

      For Lisa, did u get your braids, my hair is very similar, though I am of African heritage. I am in my 50s and am getting braids for the first time, wanted them years ago and was always concerned about other peoples opinions. Now I embrace all cultures and utilize what I believe makes me a more loving human being. I am white of skin colour and multi cultural of heart and mind xx

    2. Malissa Atkins

      Lisa,
      I am a caucasian 44 year old and currently have box braids with braiding hair added. I love them and many people give me compliments. From older black women to younger black women, someone is always giving me praise about my hair. White women, hispanic women, they all say positive things. I have yet to hear anyone give me a bad comment, maybe they keep their mouths shut, I don’t know. I am married to a black man, have mixed kids and my environment puts me into a different social class. I really feel like it is your choice to rock a hairstyle. I keep it real and call it the same style that the ethnic group calls it. I don’t urbanize the style. I also do crochet styles and sew-in hair. I just like the styles! My current box braids were done by an African native with a local salon and she loves doing my hair. If you want them, just do it!

  35. Brooke

    Ok yes I’m white and why does it matter we are all just people. There is no “white people” thinks and there is no “black people” thinks, we are all just people. We all are equal. Everyone might not think this and that’s ok it’s my opinion but I feel if a white girl wants to get braids they can it’s not just for “black people” and if a black girl wants to have a realgar ponytail they that can. You might think who is this “white girl” and you have every right to think what am I doing she don’t know what she is talking about she is only 11. Well my last message to say is we are all the different individuals, but we all are people.

  36. Mae

    Race shouldn’t stop people from looking how they want! Smh

  37. Lisa

    Interesting comments. Just gonna do my thing. I’m getting to the age where in the nicest possible way, other people’s opinions matter less and less. Love to everyone and keep shining everyone is unique and beautiful in their own right. Xx

  38. isimyok

    i am “white” and i have braids. i have rather frizzy and undefined curly hair. when i wake up in the morning i should wash and define my hair. so, i love braids a lot but for me it is also a necessity because my curls are lost. i don’t like chemicals and i am living in a snowy city, so i can’t just wash and define my hair and go out. so am i allowed to have braids now?

  39. Sara

    The comments about how white people don’t have cultural anything is laughable. Like white people were born yesterday..what’s also laughable is this whole white people copy black people with their butts and lips…well what about the white people, many of which are born with big butts and lips…what about the black woman with blue eye contacts and who perms their hair to straighten it….you know martin Luther King does because he wanted people to be equal, for blacks and Whites, and blue people, everyone, to get along and be equal, but all I here is how black woman want to be better than white woman or excuse me, are better than white women…it is sad because womanhood is beautiful period. We are all sisters shit, black men were allowed to vote before white women. Let’s stop all the hate and live each others differences and our many likenesses. A lot of hate seems to be thrown toward white people, which makes you a racists and no one here was ever a slave so stop whining. Everyone here has the same rights whether black or white.ignirance us feed by ignorant people and I find it funny that the people on here that have said white women should not be wearing braids and that it’s not okay, I can’t help but wonder what you would say if someone told you that you couldn’t wear your hair a certain way,,,, you would be livid and cry the race card….stop playing the race card and let your skills, hard work, and truly judgeless, kind soul be the thing that gets you through life..because you raceist hate is ugly

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