Nikita Dragun's journey as a Beauty influencer has been nothing short of a roller coaster jam-packed with some beautiful highs and some unfortunate lows. For example, since launching her YouTube channel in 2013, she's been celebrated for coming out as trans in an inspiring video, as well as criticized for participating in a Jeffree Star photo shoot which garnered criticism for makeup that many perceived as blackface. And now, her latest Instagram photo is recalling those allegations of racial insensitivity after the wig Dragun is wearing prompted some commenters to accuse her of cultural appropriation.
In the photo, Dragun is seen posing in Harajuku, wearing a wig in a cotton-candy-pink shade — an appropriate aesthetic choice since she's holding a huge cloud of candyfloss. What's not appropriate, some commenters are saying, is the style of the wig: long twists that many viewers felt too closely resembled locs.
"Really cute, but your hairstyle is definitely appropriation," one commenter wrote. When another asked the Instagram user to clarify what Dragun was appropriating, she responded, "Appropriation of black culture. Unless she is mixed with black then that’s my own bad for not knowing. But if she isn’t black at all, that hairstyle isn’t actually for her."
A number of other commenters agree with thriftstore_barbie. "Ur just fully appropriating," one wrote. "Nikita I love you but I hate the dreads! Not cool," wrote another. Yet another said, "that’s what cultural appropriation looks like." The comments devolved into a sometimes-uncivil debate with the help of commenters who fervently disagree, not only with the accusations of cultural appropriation but with the concept of cultural appropriation itself.
"Cultural appropriation is actually stupid. Let people look like what people want to look like. Y’all want equality and want to get rid of racism but people like you saying this is just adding to that. Hair is hair," one wrote. "Without people sharing cultures we wouldn't be as advanced as we are now as a society. Most people appreciate others indulging in other cultures it means that the culture it self [sic] is growing and being more well known," philosophized another. One commenter acknowledged cultural appropriation but didn't think this was an example: "Some of y’all really need to learn what cultural appropriation is. Y’all so busy tryna sound woke when you just look stupid. Keep slaying those twist (if you look closely enough they are twist not dreads)."
This isn't the first time Dragun has been called out for what some thought was an appropriative hairstyle. Some commenters spoke up when she posted a photo wearing a look that resembled cornrows; she also sparked arguments in the comments when she posted a photo of herself wearing a multicolored wig that many insisted are locs and, thus, appropriation.
Dragun, https://twitter.com/NikitaDragun/status/836781590768304128 she's half Mexican and half Southeast Asian, hasn't responded to the accusations that she appropriated Black culture. If she does, we'll be sure to update you with her response.
Nikita Dragun isn't the only one who's been accused of cultural appropriation:
Check out 100 years of Black hair history:See the video.
Follow Marci on Instagram and Twitter, or subscribe to Allure's newsletter for daily beauty stories delivered right to your inbox.