Coco Austin, wife of rapper Ice-T, rarely makes headlines for her hair choices, but her latest transformation has the Internet talking.
This past weekend, the model and mother of one came under fire for naming her side swept cornrows the “Coco Swoop,” even after mentioning that she names all of her hairstyles, including ones without braids. Still, many users accused Coco of trying to appropriate a style that’s been worn by Black women for eons.
Although she initially ignored the backlash, Coco eventually hopped on Instagram to address the situation.
“So, recently I got social media’s panties in a bunch because I did braids to my hair. This is so stupid. I can’t believe I’m talking about it, and I believe this shouldn’t be turned out to be a race thing,” she said in the two-part video.
“I name all my styles that I do to myself. These are called the Coco Swoop,” she continued. “The braids before were called the Bo Derek Braids. And it’s a Coco-ism. I’ve always done it.”
Although Coco acknowledged that she knows “braids have been around for thousands of years,” she clearly missed the mark by using Bo Derek (the white actress who notoriously wore cornrows with beads on the ends in 10) as her point of reference when braids were being worn by Black woman long before the late ’70s.
It seems she doesn’t quite grasp that folks are bothered by her renaming the look, not by the fact that she’s wearing them. In fact, this is why cultural appropriation continues to be a hot button issue within the fashion and beauty industries; because oftentimes, a style or look isn’t considered “trendy” until a white person rocks it without acknowledging the true origin.
“Why can’t we all rename hairstyles or braids? That sounds so stupid. Why is everybody claiming something they shouldn’t?” Coco reiterated in her response.
Her hairstylist, Makessia Ollivierre, also came to Coco’s defense in her own Instagram post.
“She’s never claimed that she INVENTED braids or otherwise. What someone chooses to do to themselves/hair is nobody’s business,” she wrote. “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!!!!”
We’re glad Coco knows the style has been around, but do you think she was being insensitive by renaming the hairstyle?