Binibining Pilipinas 2022 candidate Herlene Budol is currently under fire after posting a photo of herself with an afro. Herlene, who's more commonly known as "Hipon Girl," captioned the photo, "I love my Fro' - it's not just a hairstyle; it's a statement."
Netizens were quick to point out that her wearing an afro is actually an act of cultural appropriation. One user stated that, "unless you naturally have a fro, then you can't use this hairstyle."
Echoing this were comments from other netizens who expounded that only black people, or those who were naturally born with afros, should be able to wear them.
Non-black personalities putting on these types of hairstyles, the afro only being one of them, has unfortunately been a prevalent issue in the past. Makenna Roy of The State Hornet says that these elements of black culture stem from years of slavery and racism, and donning them as "fashion statements" diminishes the centuries worth of oppression continually ingrained into them.
Kara Kia of Popsugar adds, "the discrimination against black hairstyles has not only fueled the othering of black people but also the exclusion of black communities from creating generational wealth and stability for their families." In the U.S., the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act was introduced in order to stand up to the discrimination black women in school or in the workplace experience because of their hair.
As of the time of writing, neither Herlene nor anyone from her team has spoken up about the controversy.
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