Sometimes what happens live doesn’t go over well. Andy Cohen has apologized to actress Amandla Stenberg after he weighed in on the Hunger Games actress’ recent feud with Kylie Jenner during the July 12 episode of Watch What Happens Live.
"Today's Jackhole goes to the Instagram feud between Kylie Jenner and Hunger Games star/Jaden Smith's prom date, Amandla Stenberg, who criticized Kylie for her cornrows, calling it cultural appropriation,” Cohen said, turning to guests Laverne Cox and Andre Leon Talley. “White girls in cornrows — is it okay or nay?"
Both guests seemingly agreed that it was fine for Jenner to wear cornrows, but the comments and lighthearted nature of the discussion sparked “#boycottBravo” to start trending on Twitter, and on Tuesday, July 14, the Bravo host tweeted a formal apology.
“I want to apologize to Amandla,” he wrote. “I didn't understand the larger context of this cultural discussion and TRULY meant no disrespect to her or anyone else.”
Orange Is the New Black star Cox also took to her Tumblr page for a lengthy post, titled, “My Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation.”
“I have never been interested in getting involved in any celebrity feuds,” Cox wrote. “I also felt that the topic of cultural appropriation needs way more than the 10 seconds or less I had to respond at the end of the show to fully unpack. I said as much to Andre Leon Tally after the cameras stopped rolling… Far too often culture is appropriated without an understanding of the history and hardships from which that culture emerges.”
Stenberg’s feud with Jenner came to light over the weekend when she commented on the reality star’s Instagram selfie, which featured her wearing cornrows.
"@novemberskyys when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter," Stenberg commented on the photo at the time.
Jenner, 17, replied, "@amandlastenberg Mad if I don't, Mad if I do…. Go hang w Jaden or something."
The following day Stenberg, 16, also tweeted a lengthy message about cultural appropriation, writing, "Black features are beautiful. Black women are not. White women are paragons of virtue and desire. Black women are objects of fetishism and brutality. This, at least, seems to be the mentality surrounding black femininity and beauty in a society built upon eurocentric beauty standards.”
Following Cohen’s comments, Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color of Change released a statement saying, “Andy Cohen's offensive and completely tone-deaf reaction to Amandla Stenberg's decision to take a stand against cultural appropriation is no surprise. For years, Bravo has unapologetically profited from stereotypical images of Black women. So of course he didn't understand the cultural context of Stenberg's comments; he and his colleagues at Bravo simply don't care. This latest stunt — calling a 16-year old Black girl a ‘jackhole’ — only further attests to the incredibly hostile stance Bravo has taken towards Black women and girls. An apology is not enough; Andy Cohen and Bravo need to make a public commitment to clean up their act, and no longer profit from violent, stereotypical images of Black women on their network."
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