Anita Rogers, more popularly known as Kasi Mlungu, could learn a thing or two from famous American designer Marc Jacobs, who himself faced a cultural appropriation controversy following one of his shows last year.
Jacobs sent models down the runway at New York Fashion Week styled in colourful faux dreadlocks and drew criticism for appropriating a style associated with black people sans acknowledgment. Worse still, when he was confronted with the criticism, Jacobs went on Instagram to blast his critics, claiming "funny how no one criticises black women for wearing straight hair".
He went on to say he doesn't see race or colour, thereby setting off an even bigger storm over his insensitive response to the criticism over his ignorance about the texture, ethnic and cultural roots of dreadlocks. Kasi Mlungu is guilty of a similar type of ignorance, as several think pieces from Mail & Guardian, Huffington Post and other publications have highlighted.
Her declaration that she is a black person stuck in a white body, and is therefore not privileged by virtue of being white is evidence of her ignorance.
Our advice? Do like Marc did. The designer not only later apologised, but this year, for his New York Fashion Week show, he went to great detail in explaining and acknowledging the inspiration for his latest collection.
As Quarts reports: the show "included track pants, oversized fur collars, bucket hats, and heavy pendants and chains that unmistakably drew from early hip-hop culture."
Perhaps to avoid last year's criticism over cultural appropriation, Jacobs took to Instagram to acknowledge the source:
"As a born and bred New Yorker, it was during my time at the High School of Art and Design when I began to see and feel the influence of hip-hop on other music as well as art and style. This collection is my representation of the well-studied dressing up of casual sportswear. It is an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style." [email protected] on #MJFW17
By refusing to acknowledge her privilege, Kasi Mlungu missed the opportunity to pay homage to the place (eKasi) she claims to be so in love with, and what the Jacobs example shows is that she doesn't necessarily need to give up her "Kasi Mlungu" moniker, but to simply acknowledge that this is a culture that is not her own, state her admiration, and keep it moving. Instead, she angered people by insulting their intelligence.
There is no such thing as a black person stuck in a white body.