Health and fitness YouTuber Sarah’s Day has apologised after being accused of cultural appropriation for her recent activewear range with White Fox Boutique.
Sarah, 27, is set to launch her third activewear collaboration with White Fox Boutique in June, but has faced backlash from fans who have accused her of cultural appropriation in her promotional pho tos.
“With a new activewear campaign centred around confidence, strength, embracing and loving our bodies, I’m absolutely heartbroken some people and communities are feeling the exact opposite right now. I am so sorry and I want to make it right,” she began her lengthy apology on Instagram.
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With a new activewear campaign centred around confidence, strength, embracing and loving our bodies, I’m absolutely heartbroken some people and communities are feeling the exact opposite right now. I am so sorry and I want to make it right. In no way am I trying to make ‘excuses’ or justify my actions, I’m responding and providing answers to the questions I’ve been asked as to why we chose the double braids hairstyle for the campaign. In my first activewear campaign, I wore 4 braids. Our vision was to take inspiration from all of my previous campaigns, but elevate it. I created a mood board which was full of festival hairstyles including colour, length and braids. We selected various elements of our past activewear campaigns to show the evolution of my life and fitness since becoming pregnant etc. Upon posting the images, i have been made aware of the controversy surrounding this kind of hair style. As I wear my hair in braids regularly and have had blonde extensions braided before, we genuinely thought it was an elevated photoshoot choice to add the blue extensions in to match the collection colours. Again, please don’t take this as me making ‘excuses’ I just want to provide clarity and reasoning as to how this happened and why I “thought this was ok”. It genuinely breaks my heart that I could ever offend anyone, particularly surrounding a project that was based on feeling empowered, embracing our differences and feeling confident in our own skin. I was so excited for you to see this campaign we all worked so hard on, however, not at the expense of offending anyone. I’ve been doing as much research as I can regarding the topic of cultural appropriation and I’d be lying if I said I completely understood what was ok and what wasn’t. I’m still doing my best to understand and be aware. This uncertainty and sadness in my heart has led me to pull the campaign. I’m sorry if I offended anyone. That was never my intention. I want EVERYONE to feel empowered, valued and confident. Please know that I love you all and I’m doing my best at being respectful of everyone’s opinion.
“In no way am I trying to make ‘excuses’ or justify my actions, I’m responding and providing answers to the questions I’ve been asked as to why we chose the double braids hairstyle for the campaign.”
The photos in question saw Sarah wearing long, fluro “boxer braids,” not dissimilar to the braids the Kardashian/Jenners have been called out for in the past.
Back in 2016, Kim Kardashian was called a trend setter for apparently making the hairstyle, which actually dates back to ancient Africa, popular. These “boxer braids” also known as cornrows have never gone “out of style” and have always been prevalent among people of colour. However, the problem is that they’re only now being seen as “cool” and “trendy” now that white, conventionally attractive women are wearing them, which is problematic to say the least.
As a white woman, I’m not going to pretend I can speak from personal experience when it comes to cultural appropriation. But it’s important to recognise that we don’t get to choose what somebody else is or isn’t offended by, especially when it comes to topics that are sensitive for cultures that aren’t our own. You may think hair is just hair, but when people of colour have been ridiculed for these hairstyles for centuries, it’s understandable to see why it could be offensive to see them suddenly become “cool” and “trendy” now that popular white women are wearing them. What may just be braids to you could hold more significance to somebody else.
Following the backlash, Sarah issued a lengthy apology, clarifying that she never meant to offend anyone and is now pulling the campaign as a result. Thankfully, it seems like Sarah was genuinely unaware of how this could be considered cultural appropriation, and appears both apologetic and willing to educate herself on the issue.
“I’m sorry if I offended anyone. That was never my intention. I want EVERYONE to feel empowered, valued and confident. Please know that I love you all and I’m doing my best at being respectful of everyone’s opinion.”