BLACKSWAN Member Sriya’s Hairstyling Comes Under Scrutiny For Cultural Appropriation

Both the agency and the idol apologized swiftly.

BLACKSWAN, a multi-cultural K-Pop group, recently faced criticism after their appearance on SBS M’s The Show on May 30.

BLACKSWAN | @thekpop/YouTube

Though the group debuted in 2020, it underwent several lineup changes in the following years due to its admission and graduation concept. The group’s current members include Fatou, NVee, Gabi, and Sriya. These four, as BLACKSWAN, made a comeback pretty recently with the single “Karma,” which has been slowly rising in popularity.

(From left to right) BLACKSWAN members Sriya, Gabi, Fatou, and NVee | @blackswan___official/Instagram

The group has appeared on multiple Korean music shows, earning praise for their impressive live singing and performance skills. However, on May 30, Sriya, the Indian member of the group, appeared to be sporting cornrows while performing on The Show. Fans immediately called out the agency and the stylist involved in this choice.

| @thekpop/YouTube

Cornrows, one of the many Black hairstyles that originated in colonial America, hold socio-political significance beyond just any other hairstyle. The style was named after the plantation fields where many enslaved people worked and are said to have been used to map escape routes by them. To this day, Black people face discrimination for wearing their hair in typically Black hairstyles. So, it is usually seen as a sign of disrespect and cultural appropriation when non-Black people don cornrows or other similar Black hairdos.

For this very reason, people were upset that Sriya was styled with cornrows for the show, despite there being several occasions of K-Pop idols coming under fire for similar cultural appropriations. Many fans also wondered why Fatou or NVee, the two Black members of the group, were not styled with cornrows instead.

DR Music, the agency of BLACKSWAN, posted an apology on Instagram, admitting their mistake.

Sriya also apologized to fans once she was made aware of the situation. She took to the fan communication platform Veeper to offer her apology.

Fans are happy that the company and the idol both took accountability on this matter and hope that such incidents won’t repeat in the future.