Vogue Apologizes for Controversial Kendall Jenner Photos

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A pair of promotional photos for the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund showed Jenner wearing an Afro-like hairstyle, prompting accusations of cultural appropriation from commenters.

Vogue is back in the hot seat after a pair of Instagram posts displaying Kendall Jenner in an Afro-like hairstyle were accused of cultural appropriation.

"The image is meant to be an update of the romantic Edwardian/Gibson Girl hair which suits the period feel of the Brock Collection, and also the big hair of the '60s and the early '70s, that puffed-out, teased-out look of those eras," the Conde Nast publication said in a statement to E! News on Tuesday. "We apologize if it came across differently than intended, and we certainly did not mean to offend anyone by it." 

The instigating images — promotional photos for the publication's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund — showed Jenner wearing a curly, voluminous hairstyle that many interpreted as being a take on an Afro. In a post on Thursday, Jenner posed with model Imaan Hammam, whose hair was styled straight. In a subsequent post about the Fashion Fund on Saturday Jenner posed alone in the hairstyle.

"FOR YEARS WE have been penalized about our looks and especially our hair, It is a slap in the face when non-Blacks try to imitate our look," one Instagram user wrote in a comment on the initial photo.

"I like Kendall but why didn't they use an ethnic model who has hair like that," another wrote of the initial photo. 

American Vogue and a few of its sister publications have come under fire multiple times in the past year for features accused of cultural appropriation or sending a tone-deaf message. A Vogue Italia cover was accused of showing model Gigi Hadid in "blackface" in May, while last year Vogue Arabia sparked controversy for styling Rihanna in Queen Nefertiti-like garments. The same publication was called tone-deaf when it featured Saudi Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud in a photo this year showing her behind the wheel of a car: The feature celebrated the lifting of driving restrictions for women in Saudi Arabia, but the princess' father, the late king, enforced the women-only driving ban.

Earlier this year, American Vogue angered some women's advocates online when it published a sympathetic story about Harvey Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman, in May. In an editor's letter, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour wrote, "blaming her for any of it, as too many have in our gladiatorial digital age, is wrong.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fifteen years and 150 finalists later, the @CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize has created global stars, local heroes, a must-watch New York Fashion Week, and, most important, a true sense of community among designers of all ages and backgrounds—all with differing aesthetic and commercial aspirations—who communicate, collaborate, and essentially care for one another through the fun and not-so-fun times. Laura Vassar Brock—one of the founders of 2016 #CVFF winner Brock Collection—says, “We spoke to a few friends who had gone through it, and they all said the same thing: that the Fashion Fund is a life-changing experience. And indeed it was!” Tap the link in our bio to learn more. Photographed by @mikaeljansson, styled by @tonnegood, Vogue, November 2018

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