Coco Austin is known for her reality TV stardom, voluptuous figure, and marriage to one of the founding fathers of gangster rap, Ice-T. But over the past few days what people have been talking about in relation to Coco is her hair. Recently the mother of one debuted a new hairstyle and dubbed it “Da Coco side swoop.” Almost immediately she came under fire on social media, with many calling her out for cultural appropriation.
The Twitterverse was enraged that Austin seemed to claim ownership of the box braids, even going so far as to rename the classic and traditionally black hairstyle. Commenters did not mince words in calling her on cultural appropriation, making sure to also point out that this is a hairstyle black women have been wearing forever.
— (@LafayeGallagher) July 17, 2017
Little black girls wear braids but get told they have to take it out in school…but then here comes the Coco Swoop ♀️
— X I O M A R A (@XiomaraLaChelle) July 20, 2017
This is cultural appropriation. It has always been BRAIDS & now a white girl is calling it the “coco swoop” like it’s something new. pic.twitter.com/C3jRO3xb4I
— Tia (@arollingbeauty) July 21, 2017
It’s kind of shocking for Coco to think that she was inventing something with the “Coco Sweep.” Not only is the look popular and classic, it’s also been highly visible in recent decades. It’s impossible to think that Coco didn’t see Beyoncé wear the same hairstyle on her 2016 visual album, Lemonade.
The correct name for these kind of braids are lemonade braids ♀️
— CMB (@Chaneeeemarie) July 20, 2017
If we go back to 2007, we can see Alicia Keys rocking the same ‘do.
— ✨QUEEN✨ (@JoyyUnSpeakable) July 14, 2017
And of course Janet Jackson showcased the style in the early 1990s.
— Daniel Paul (@DanDBear) January 3, 2017
While those against Coco were loud and proud, there were others who commented defending Austin’s hairstyle. “If you guys read the original post she didn’t rename the braids, she clearly said she names all her hairstyles, braids and no braids. Stop looking to spread hate and negativity, you are free to not follow her if it bothers you so much,” wrote an Instagram follower.
Now her husband, Ice-T, is fighting back and defending his wife for her style choice. “Wrong for what? Braiding her hair?? You sound dumb,” he tweeted to the naysayers.
Wrong for what? Braiding her hair?? You sound Dumb. https://t.co/fcyJ4ZEs0u
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) July 17, 2017
He continued advocating on behalf of his wife through a series of emotional tweets.
Lol… I honestly can't believe you MFs are STILL taking bout braids for 3 days…. Lol https://t.co/rtLVAKfm4R
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) July 20, 2017
I love you too…! Don’t trip… Crack is a hell of a Drug….. MFs STILL taking bout MF hair… lol https://t.co/Fp8hG3PVXI
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) July 21, 2017
The debate around cultural appropriation is much bigger than this instance and this hairstyle. While Coco likely meant to have a little fun and change up her look, she stepped right into a minefield of raging debate.
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