It seems like everyone and their mother has opinions on the new look that Harry Styles debuted on the cover of Vogue this past month. His photoshoot fashion consists of gowns and skirts that catapult Styles’ famously androgynous style to a whole new level. While some people are absolutely living for this look, one Twitter user saying “this is why i freaking love this man,” and many other comments that echo this sentiment, others are less impressed.
There is perhaps one criticism that has been spoken about more than the rest, which was that of conservative commentator Candace Owens. She spoke out against Styles’ feature in Vogue, tweeting a slew of reasons she found his fashion choices to be an “outright attack” on society through “the steady feminization of our men.” “Bring back manly men,” she said (via Twitter). This comment virtually blew up over Twitter, with people fighting against Owens left and right, with Styles himself making an awesome but subtle clap back.
Amongst the many, many people that this comment offended was singer-songwriter Noah Cyrus. On Wednesday, she posted a photo of Styles to her Instagram story with the text, “he wears this dress better than any of u nappy ass heauxz.” While she didn’t appear to directly “at” anyone or specifically name someone, it’s clear that her response was in opposition to Owens (via Jezebel).
So then why did Cyrus’ post upset so many people?
Cyrus' comment was inadvertently racist
Cyrus’ post was clearly meant to be in support of Styles, but in doing so, she ended using offensive language. Indeed, her use of the word “nappy” is actually pretty problematic because that term is a historically racist one — and it’s even worse that she used it against Owens, a Black woman.
According to NPR, “Nappy’s history is tangled up in the arrival of the first slave ships on the coastlines of the Americas in the 17th century. The likely origin of the term is the word nap, which was used to describe the frizzled threads raising from a piece of fabric. There is a lot of speculation that nap was redefined as a disparaging phrase for the coils and kinks in the hair of the African enslaved, in connection with the fields of cotton that drove the Colonial economy.” In addition, Black women have been historically criticized and discriminated against as a result of their hair, making Cyrus’ comment even more problematic.
In response, Cyrus posted a new Instagram story, saying “i am mortified that i used a term without knowing the context and history, but i know now and i am horrified and truly sorry” (via E! News). Hopefully this situation was just a slip up. But we’re going to be watching from afar to make sure Cyrus truly learned from her mistake.
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