Why People Like Marc Jacobs Can Never Claim Bantu Knots As Their Own.
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Politics and Activism

Why People Like Marc Jacobs Can Never Claim Bantu Knots As Their Own.

Bantu Knots before Marc Jacobs Runway

Why People Like Marc Jacobs Can Never Claim Bantu Knots As Their Own.

In his 2015 Spring Fashion show, Marc Jacobs received credit for introducing “Mini Buns” into fashion. His models strutted down the runway with sections of their hair twirled and wrapped tightly, making little knots. The hairstyle highly resembled Bantu Knots, a hairstyle that has been worn in the African and African American community by women for centuries. Marc Jacobs is no trend setter in this case and is certainly not responsible for creating “Mini Buns,” properly known as Bantu Knots.

Bantu Knots have been around for centuries. The style originated in West Africa and spread to other parts of the continent. The Zulu tribe in southern Africa became most commonly affiliated with the termBantu, meaning a member of any of several peoples forming a linguistically and, in some respects, culturally interrelated family in central and southern Africa. The style has been worn by the women in the Zulu tribe as a part of their way of life. Bantu Knots has also emerged into African American culture, especially among the natural hair community. One may compare it to the Afro, as it has become a hairstyle that signifies one of the ways Black people express themselves and relate back to their African roots.

The truth is, Marc Jacobs is just getting on the bandwagon. Many Black celebrities such asRihanna and Lauryn Hill have been seen rocking Bantu Knots years prior to Marc Jacobs models. Accrediting Marc Jacobs, a white male, as creator of Bantu Knots is just a simple case of culture appropriation. He embodies nothing that the style was derived from, nor has any cultural connection to it. The style ultimately was being dissociated from Black culture when Bantu knots was renamed “Mini” Buns. Taking a style primarily connected to another culture and then slapping a new name on it doesn’t constitute ownership.

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