YouTuber Sophia (handle: Xoxosophia) found herself at the center of controversy when she debuted a new hairstyle: box braids. The hairstyle is most commonly associated with African people and their diaspora culture.
Sophia recorded a new video after taking time to do research on the hairstyle’s history as well as the definition of cultural appropriation.
In her words, cultural appropriation is “abuse of other cultures.” When someone adopts or uses something from another culture without properly understanding it.
Instead of lashing out at her critics, Sophia took time to understand why they feel the way they do. She recognized that it’s impossible to separate a tradition from its racial history. Sophia also spoke to how many other South Koreans might not understand the phenomenon.
The care and thought she put into studying the cultural nuances of the do quickly went viral, receiving applause from thousands of people around the world on Twitter.
It’s important to clarify, however, that Sophia does not consider her video an apology. She is a firm believer that if you properly educate yourself on the cultural history of a hairstyle or article of clothing, there shouldn’t be a problem with rocking it. She thanked everybody in a follow up comment to the video, but wanted to clear up some misconceptions.
Sophia saw her lessons as a jump point for further discussion rather than a conclusion meant to silence. Ultimately, she decided to get rid of her box braids because she didn’t feel like having them anymore. It’s her wish that cultural appropriation one day ceases to exist because everyone just respects each other’s cultures.
Many black netizens responded to Sophia’s video with positive messages. They expressed thanks for her trying to understand things from their perspective, which is something you do not see every day.