Love Island’s Rebecca Gormley Has Defended Accusations Of Cultural Appropriation And Fans Are Not Impressed

'I'm just doing me,' she said after posting a picture wearing braids.

Rebecca Gormley in braids

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Love Island’s Rebecca Gormley has been accused of cultural appropriation after posting a picture alongside boyfriend Chris Biggs wearing cornrows. Rather the apologising, the season six contestant has defended her decision, to further backlash.

Posting a picture of her and Biggs at a restaurant yesterday, Gormley’s Instagram comments were immediately filled with people holding her accountable for the culturally appropriative hairstyle. ‘Girl you can’t wear that hairstyle…’ one follower commented to thousands of likes.

‘Hunny cultural appropriation looks so good on you must be why you continue to do it,’ another user sarcastically said. It was under this comment Biggs chose to defend his girlfriend, accusing the woman of being jealous of Gormley.

Despite some attacking the people attempting to educate Gormley, followers continued to explain why it’s inappropriate to wear her hair in this style of braids. ‘You realise Black kids in schools across the UK are getting excluded for wearing traditional Black hairstyles?’ one user asked. ‘It doesn’t seem like Rebecca or [Biggs] have brought light to this conversation on your platform and it seems as though this is just a fun and quirky style for Rebecca to rock for a couple of days and take out without doing the learning.’

It’s not just schools where Black children are punished for embracing their culture, studies have shown that Black women with natural hairstyles like curly afros, twists or braids are less likely to get job interviews than White women or Black women with straight hair. Black women have also reported employers telling them their natural hair is ‘unprofessional’.

It comes as no surprise then that when a white woman dons the same hairstyle and is celebrated, Black people would be frustrated by the double standard and obvious display of privilege. Gormley, however, has a different outlook.

‘So I've been going through my requests and I've got loads of awful messages which I don't think is fair at all,’ she said on Instagram Stories. ‘I've had messages saying I'm being disrespectful to people's culture because of my hair but I wear braids all the time, just because I've got a few more braids downs meant I'm being disrespectful.'

‘I don't want to hurt anyone I'm just being myself, I'm doing me. I'm literally just doing me. I had to get someone else to do me braids, because I can't do it as good as this. Have you seen it they're unreal.’

Biggs, who was with Gormley when she filmed her Stories, added: ‘My point is if a young white boy came to me and said “Biggs I like your hair and I want that”. I should be happy because I've got something he wants. He's appreciating the culture. I'd be worried if he said urgh I don't want that. It's 2020, it's different.’

The response has divided fans, with many pointing out that they didn’t acknowledge why it’s offensive in the first place while others seem incensed by the reaction and rush to defend Gormley.

It’s not the first time she’s been accused of cultural appropriation. Earlier this month, she posted a photoshoot on Instagram of her riding a horse wearing traditional Native American clothing and headgear. She referenced said photoshoot in her Stories also, telling fans that she didn’t mean to offend anyone but excusing her behaviour as she is ‘a model’.

Read More:

Alexandra Burke And Naomi Campbell Back Adele After Cultural Appropriation Row

Here Are The Anti-Racism Charities You Can Support Around The UK And US

I’m So Used To Cultural Appropriation That I’ve Started To Doubt My Own Outrage

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us