Coco Austin Defended Her Hairstyle After the Internet Called Her Out for Cultural Appropriation

Coco Austin
coco/Instagram

Cultural appropriation, or the act of exploiting elements of a culture without care, recognition, or regard for said culture, is alive and well. And while there are many examples of this kind of thievery -- that often include beauty and fashion brands claiming cultural staples as newfound trends while removing significance and representation of the cultural source -- at some point, you have to wonder if any embrace of a dissimilar culture is automatically bad. Coco Austin's braids are causing controversy with cries of cultural appropriation -- and it's left the Internet divided.

  • The 38-year-old model, mom, and wife of rapper-turned-actor Ice T is no stranger to controversy.

    A post shared by Coco (@coco) on

    Notorious for her "Thong Thursday" posts on her Coco's World blog, Coco Austin has never shied away from living in her truth.

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  • But her latest hairstyle -- braids that Coco proudly calls "Da Coco Swoop" -- have been turning heads.

    A post shared by Coco (@coco) on

    "Hey guys. Coco's got some braids," she says in her braid reveal Instagram video. "So, it's called the Coco Swoop -- you feeling it?"

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  • Though many of her followers thought her new 'do was fiyah, some were quick to call her out for cultural appropriation and being a "culture vulture."

  • Others pointed out how "Da Coco Swoop" could be misconstrued as taking credit away from the queen who breathed life into the hairstyle.

  • And we aren't talking about the Queen of England.

  • Coco has since responded to the hair-raising allegations of cultural appropriation on Instagram and is so not here for it.

    A post shared by Coco (@coco) on

    "So recently, I got social media's panties in a bunch because I did braids to my hair," Austin says in her first Instagram clapback video. "This is so stupid, I can't believe I'm talking about it, and I believe it shouldn't be a race thing."

  • "I name all my styles. It's a Cocoism. I've always done it."

    A post shared by Coco (@coco) on

    "People name hairstyles all day long -- look [at] Beyonce," Austin continues in her second Instagram video addressing the controversy. "Beyonce, she does this hairstyle, and now it's the 'Lemonade,' but no one is gonna get mad at her, right? At the end of the day, this shouldn't be a race war, it should be a human thing .... We should be loving each other instead of hating on each other because of a hairstyle. Get over it."

  • Even Makessia Ollivierre, Coco's hair braider for the last *eight years*, had to chime in on how ridiculous she thinks the accusations are.

    "... It's crazy to me that there would be so much hate and distasteful remarks about a hairstyle," Olliverierre writes in her Instagram post. "[Coco's] never claimed that she INVENTED braids or otherwise. What someone chooses to do to themselves/hair is nobody's business. Quite frankly there's wayyyyy too many things in the world that that energy should be focused on. All you internet trolls need to get a f@#king life, it's not that serious!!!!"

  • While there *are* cultural appropriation issues that need addressing, it seems many people don't think this is one of them and are on Coco's side.

  • Bottom line, Coco: Keep calm and carry on.

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