Jack Harlow has faced heat before over claims of cultural appropriation. As a white rapper from Louisville, Kentucky, how could he not?
And although Jack often goes out of his way to acknowledge his privilege and acknowledge the creators of hip-hop and the importance of Black people to his success, he’s still become the target of backlash after he was photographed wearing a bonnet at a Louisville City FC soccer match.
Jack Harlow spotted at the Louisville City FC game. pic.twitter.com/xqdcIk6wyx
— Pop Base (@PopBase) June 12, 2023
As the internet and social media have brought longstanding but often overlooked aspects of Black culture to mainstream attention, there has been plenty of friction generated between white folks (and others) showing appreciation for Black culture and just appropriating it.
black ppl can’t have nothing
— ᴡɪʟʟ ★ (@beyXwill) June 12, 2023
Y’all why am I seeing jack Harlow with a bonnet on????? pic.twitter.com/hf3oB70KKp
— laylay is enjoying festa szn (@janay130) June 12, 2023
He wanna be black so bad
— Mal (@Malshaze) June 12, 2023
He acting like he got 4c hair he gotta protect
— Sadie Sink Enthusiast (@lumaxliveson) June 12, 2023
Can someone please explain to why Jack Harlow is 1. Out in public with a bonnet and 2. Wearing a bonnet?? Please pic.twitter.com/lhRi2NNAL0
— BB ELLE WOODS (@ALYSSIA2777) June 11, 2023
This has extended to Black clothing and slang, accessories and hairstyles, and yes, even hair care products like du-rags and bonnets. Worn by many Black people as a way to protect our hair from damage, the latter have increasingly been seen as a fashion statement by folks on the younger end of the spectrum — for instance, Guapdad’s 10-foot du-rag train from the 2020 Grammys and Thundercat’s song about his “Dragon Ball Durag.”
Unfortunately, when some white artists have tried to join the trend, such as when Madonna tweeted about “durag activity” in a nod to Baby Keem and Travis Scott’s song of the same name, the results have been, shall we say, mixed.
So, seeing Jack Harlow in a bonnet outside — especially since Black folks doing so have been criticized as looking unkempt, despite the trend’s growing popularity — has some fans understandably confused, upset, and yes, amused. Still, this certainly explains why his signature curls have been looking so luxurious lately — which just goes to show how many of us can benefit from the cultural exchange, controversy aside. While there will probably always be those who believe that protective accessories should be kept indoors, there’s no doubt that getting in the habit of “wrapping your hair up” can have everybody’s head top flourishing.
Jack Harlow is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.