Kendall Jenner and Vogue have come under serious fire online, after the magazine released images of the 22-year-old modeling an Afro.
Vogue released the photos as part of a series marking the 15th anniversary of the CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund prize, which was created in 2003 to support emerging designers by awarding them cash prizes.
But while Kendall posed in a variety of styles for the series, which was shot by Swedish photographer Mikael Jansson, two photos in particular have drawn the ire of social media users; one sees the model posing in a romantic floral prairie dress by Brock Collection, with her normally poker-straight hair arranged in an Afro hairstyle
he other snap features Kendall with a similar hairdo, this time wearing a purple Altuzarra dress along with black fishnet tights and ankle boots. Posing next to her is 22-year-old model Imaan Hammam, who donned a white Rodarte dress, green fishnet tights, and pink sandals.
Vogue shared the image of Kendall in the prairie dress on Instagram recently, prompting many social media users to question the publication's decision to have Kendall wear the hairstyle instead of hiring a model with a natural Afro.
'There are other models @voguemagazine you could really get a real Afro model tsk tsk,' one person wrote in a disheartened comment, while another Instagram user deemed the image 'inappropriate'.
'Does her hair really look like that on a daily basis? Is she African American? Why couldn’t y'all get a girl with a real fro on the cover if y'all wanted a fro so bad!' someone else wrote. 'This is not cool at all! It has to stop !'
Another person chimed in: 'As a black teen growing up in America, this was absolutely hurtful to look at, people keep bringing up that black women wear weaves that are straight. Yeah we wear them because America poisoned black culture with the idea that we need relaxers and to be accepted our hair had to be straight.
Why couldn't y'all get a girl with a real fro on the cover?
'I grew up not seeing one Disney kid with natural hair until KC undercover @zendaya. This is not something that can be shrugged off because the message is hurtful.
'Kendall seems like a girl who is smart and intelligent enough to know that people were going to have something to say about this look and maybe should've chose a different hairstyle. This situation isn’t about her it’s the message that projects from this image.'
A couple of days prior, Vogue also posted the image of Kendall and Imaan, leading some to wonder why the magazine didn't leave Imaan's hair — which is naturally curly — in its original texture instead of flattening it, in which case Kendall could also have sported her natural straight hair.
'The creative director can do as they please, but why not just leave Imaan hair out natural instead of straightening it? So then there's no need to give Kendall the Afro?' someone wrote on Instagram.
Some social media users, however, defended the photos and insisted Kendall was not wearing an actual Afro, but rather a curled hairstyle meant to reference past trends in fashion history.
'Oh please. It’s not an Afro it's teased hair to look like the period they were styling for,' one person wrote in part.
'As someone with a serious Afro, I'm certainly not offended by this look / portrayal,' someone else commented. 'This is nowhere near an Afro. Models are often transformed in photo shoots which is the reason for creative directors... but I can't help but think of Zoë Kravitz when I see this.'
Another person wrote: 'Kendall Jenner looks amazing and this CLEARLY is not an Afro, it's a classic style. More like an old lady hairdo than anything.... But people will cry and whine and accuse her of cultural appropriation because of who her family is...'
One person found that the hairdo looked like that of an 'edgy Marie Antoinette', adding: 'Coupled with the dress, that's obviously what they were going for and I, personally, think they captured it well.'
Vogue also said Kendall's hairstyle was meant to echo two different periods of history while apologizing to those who were offended by the imagery.
The magazine told Fashionista in a statement: 'The image is meant to be an update of the romantic Edwardian / Gibson Girl hair which suits the period feel of the Brock Collection, and also the big hair of the 60s and the early 70s, that puffed-out, teased-out look of those eras.
We apologize if it came across differently than intended, and did not mean to offend anyone by it.'
This is not the first time a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family has faced accusations of cultural insensitivity.
In April last year, Kendall herself drew backlash for appearing in a Pepsi ad that saw her bringing together police and protesters during a demonstration by handing a can of soda to one of the officers.