The singer, 27, received criticism when he shared a photo to Instagram on Monday, April 26, in which he wore the traditionally Black hairstyle.
“This is cultural appropriation … I know you can do better,” one user wrote, while another added, “J, please educate yourself on cultural appropriation … You shouldn’t be wearing dreads … With love.” A third, meanwhile, chimed in, “It’s really disappointing to see you with dreads, I thought you educated yourself.” A fourth asked, “Didn’t you say you were educating yourself about Black culture, so what is this foolery?”
“I am inspired by Black culture,” Hailey Baldwin‘s husband wrote. “I have benefited off of Black culture. My style, how I sing, dance, perform and my fashion have all been influenced and inspired by Black culture,” he continued. “I am committed to using my platform this day forward to learn, to speak up about racial injustice and systemic oppression and to identify ways to be a part of much-needed change.”
Stephanie Cohen, cofounder and legal and political organizer at the Halo Collective, a natural hair organization, told The Guardian: “When I see a white person in mainstream media sporting a Black hairstyle, it makes me angry. I’m angry because this standard does not exist when a Black person simply wears their hair in this way. You can’t just wear something so historically significant and ignore the struggles behind what the hairstyle purports.”
Cohen said Bieber had “no right” to wear the hairstyle.
The “Holy” crooner was previously heavily criticized the last time he had the hairstyle in 2016. Irene Shelley, editor of Black Beauty and Hair magazine, revealed why many are upset.
“I think why people are annoyed with Bieber casually wearing locs is that it’s seen as not respecting the origins of the style,” she told the outlet. “People still face hair discrimination and stigma for their hair choice. … You can face discrimination by your employer or school. [Bieber] is seen as a dilettante, a person who’s dipping his toe in the culture, without any real commitment or knowledge of the style’s history.”
Bieber has yet to address the backlash.
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