Netizens Have Mixed Reactions To The Action Taken After EXID’s Hani Came Under Fire For Cultural Appropriation

Many believe more should have been done.

EXID recently celebrated their 10th debut anniversary, thanking their fans for their continued support. The group also announced that they would make a comeback with the album X.

EXID | @exidstaff/Twitter

Fans were incredibly excited for the comeback but raised concerns after the teaser images were released and Hani was wearing braids that fans identified as box braids. Fans voiced their frustration at the hairstyle, deeming it cultural appropriation, which is defined as “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.”

Hani | @exidstaff/Twitter

Although culturally appropriative hairstyles can be unfortunately used as an “aesthetic” in K-Pop, black people have experienced prejudice and racism throughout history and modern times for their hair texture and styles. Many people believe that a non-black person using these hairstyles, especially for aesthetics, is highly insensitive.

African-American women did everything they could to hold on to their ancestral tradition of wearing intricately braided styles. Nevertheless, when Emancipation took place in 1865, it brought along a desire to leave all things which recalled the horrific time of slavery behind.

During the Great Migration, Black women began to migrate and flock to cities like Chicago and New York. They usually took on jobs as domestics, one of the few positions open to them. But braids quickly became synonymous with backwardness. Plaits and cornrows were increasingly traded in for chemically straightened or pressed hair.

— Lydia Kiros via Amplify Africa

Understandably, many fans voiced their frustration at Hani’s hairstyle and hoped that the look would not be included in the music video.

Still, fans were surprised when “Fire” was released, and Hani’s braids were noticeably blurred.

Some fans applauded the decision, pleased that it meant their concerns were actually being heard.

But others pointed out that, while it is good that they eventually took action, the styling should have never happened in the first place.

And, as some other fans pointed out, they also could have cut out any scene of Hani wearing the braids in the music video.

Of course, cultural appropriation has always been a prevalent issue in K-Pop. Fans continually voice their frustration that some idols and companies are quick to apologize but still repeat the same mistakes.

You can read about cultural appropriation in K-Pop here.

The Reason Why Cultural Appropriation is Such An Issue In K-Pop, According To A Cultural Studies Professor

You can watch “Fire” here.

EXID