Blackpink's Lisa apologizes for cultural appropriation over box braids in 'Money'

'LISA has acknowledged and apologised for the cultural appropriation and we are thankful that LISA was willing to listen and learn,' shared a fan


                            Blackpink's Lisa apologizes for cultural appropriation over box braids in 'Money'
Lisa wears box braids for 'Money' performance video (BLACKPINK/YouTube)

There is a very thin line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation and the K-pop industry most often times crosses it while trying to cater to the west. The latest idol to come under fire happens to be Blackpink’s Lisa. Fans from all over the world were excited when her label YG Entertainment announced that she would finally be having her solo debut. And the Thai-born idol broke records with her solo ‘Lalisa’. But her stylistic choices like box braids have made some fans unhappy.

Braiding styles like cornrows, box braids and even dreads are a part of African culture. It should also be noted that they have been discriminated against for wearing these hairstyles. And so Black fans do not appreciate celebrities like Lisa donning box braids for aesthetic purposes. Some fans also feel that it was a poor stylistic choice as it reinforced the negative stigma against Blacks by wearing such hairstyles only for ‘badass’ and ‘hip-hop’ concepts. Lisa and Blackpink have been responsible for cultural appropriation in the past too.

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Fans point out cultural appropriation in 'Money'

For Lisa’s solo songs ‘Lalisa’ and ‘Money’, her music producers have also made use of AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) which many Black fans would have been fine with if she hadn’t used a ‘blaccent’ (imitating stereotypical Black accent). Once again, while their race has been discriminated against for speaking in a certain way, Lisa was not criticized. Fans pointed out that hip-hop is a music genre and she and her team did not have to resort to AAVE and ‘blaccent’ to make her song ‘hip-hop’. And so a lot of fans decided to email YG to address the situation.



 



 



 



 

A fan informs Lisa

When mass-emailing YG fell through, one fan decided to inform Lisa when they got a chance to talk to her through a video call for a fan sign. They explained that they did not want to throw hate but educate the Blackpink member so she did not repeat such insensitive behavior in the future. Lisa handled the fan sign well as she realized her mistake and apologized for it. She explained that she had no “bad intentions” and she only thought that the hairstyle was “cool”. Fans were also touched that she extended the usual one-minute fan sign for six minutes so that OP (original poster) could explain.



 



 

Lisa apologizes

Lisa profusely apologized and told OP to tell all her friends that she did not mean any harm. Since the fan sign on September 26, some fans have been circulating the video recording of the fan sign to alert Black fans who had been hurt and uncomfortable. Meanwhile, some fans have been trying to take down the video because they think that it could be used to start fan wars and encourage antis and trolls to send hate to Lisa. And some fans think that Lisa was wearing ‘Thai braids’ and was not doing cultural appropriation and so she did not have to apologize. They were annoyed that OP had made Lisa uncomfortable.



 



 



 

'YG's fault'

While the fandom is divided on the matter, most netizens and locals who are not part of K-pop Twitter are impressed that Lisa acknowledged and apologized. But some fans think that this will not solve any issue as it is her label YG, a repeated cultural appropriation offender who calls the shots. One fan said, “I like Lisa like she’s my bias in black pink but I am black and I do feel some type of way. when I speak up about it, others just shut it down and be like is thai braids or not cultural appropriation. I think its yg fault and how their marketing things because they want attention.”



 



 

'We are thankful that Lisa was willing to listen'

Netizens and fans had a lot to say on the matter when the recording started spreading on Twitter. One user tweeted, “I hope they won't use that video for fanwars. Not every idol faces that kind of criticism on the spot and answer it right away. Others would swerve the topic and not respond even indirectly. Please show respect on her.” One fan wondered why the recording was being reported by other fans, “She herself mentioned “please tell your friends” she wanted people to know she’s sorry tf is wrong w y’all.”

Another fan tweeted, “I cannot fathom why people are upset that Lisa apologised for cultural appropriation. This is literally a good thing. It's nice to see such a big kpop idol acknowledging mistakes and committing to doing better. Isn't this what we f**king want?” One fan explained that what Lisa had done was not ‘Thai braids’, “These are not “Thai braids” this is a Thai braid called Phom Pia, these are Thai braids. Lisa had braids that had the intention to look like braids in black culture. Y’all not slick. Lisa did cultural appropriation, don’t invalidate our opinions or feelings cuz she’s ur fave.” Another shared, “LISA has acknowledged and apologised for the cultural appropriation and we are thankful that LISA was willing to listen and learn.”



 



 



 



 



 

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