The Kardashian family has been accused of cultural appropriation yet again.
On Sunday, Kourtney Kardashian’s ex-husband Scott Disick shared footage to TikTok of his daughter Penelope performing a Māori war dance alongside Kim Kardashian’s children Saint and North, and two other youngsters.
Many New Zealanders characterised the depiction of the ceremonial haka as ‘wildly inappropriate’, ‘disrespectful’ and ‘insulting’.
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Controversial: The Kardashians have been accused of cultural appropriation, after three of the family’s children plus two friends performed a haka dance on TikTok over the weekend
The Kardashian children and their friends performed their own rendition of Ka Mate, a Māori haka composed by Te Rauparaha, a war leader of the Ngāti Toa tribe of the North Island of New Zealand.
The All Blacks rugby union team has performed Ka Mate at games for years.
Standing on a staircase, the five youngsters performed the sacred dance and also correctly pronounced the words to accompany the war cry.
Scott, who has 24 million followers on TikTok, shared the clip alongside the caption: ‘TikTok ya don’t stop. Ain’t got nothing on us!’
‘TikTok ya don’t stop’: On Sunday, Kourtney Kardashian’s ex-husband Scott Disick shared footage to TikTok of his daughter Penelope performing the Ka Mate haka alongside Kim Kardashian’s children Saint and North, and two other youngsters
‘That feels wildly inappropriate’: Some fans were not comfortable with the traditional and culturally significant dance being used for TikTok content
WHAT IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION?
Cultural appropriation in its simplest form is when someone adopts something from a culture that doesn’t belong to them. This could be a hairstyle or a way of speaking.
The Everyday Feminism website says: ‘Unlike cultural exchange, in which there is a mutual interchange, appropriation refers to a “particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.”‘
Some fans were not comfortable with the traditional and culturally significant dance being used for TikTok content.
‘Thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse?The Kardashians think the haka is a TikTok dance,’ one critic tweeted.
‘My heritage better not be a damned TikTok dance challenge. I don’t care that they’ve learned the real words rather than making up their own, this is sacred. STOP APPROPRIATING CULTURES,’ another raged.
A third wrote on Twitter: ‘Gurl shut up, it’s appropriating culture and the Kardashians are infamous for it.’
‘Why the f**k are the Kardashian West-Disick kids doing a haka on Scott’s story? That feels wildly inappropriate?’ another asked.
Several fans were confused by the fact the Kardashians, an American family of Armenian descent, would think to perform a traditional New Zealand war dance.
‘Why did I just see a video of the Kardashian kids doing the haka? What is going on?’ one asked.
However, many Kiwis were impressed by the children’s attempt at the haka, which seemed to be well-rehearsed.
‘My heritage is not a TikTok challenge’: Fans were confused by the fact the Kardashians, an American family of Armenian descent, would think to perform a traditional New Zealand dance
‘That is ignorance and ignorance is problematic’: Many Twitter users said the Kardashians were ‘infamous’ for cultural appropriation
Some Māori leaders have defended the Kardashians, saying the video might help promote the culture in a positive way to a global audience.
‘On the one hand, it’s a great thing. On the other hand, I would love to have a conversation with them about what the haka means and what motivated them to do it,’ Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki told Star News.
‘It has to be done with true intent. It’s not just something that’s good for Instagram or social media,’ Tukaki added for clarification.
‘They are aware of culture and appreciating it’: Kardashian supporters insisted the clip was closer to cultural appreciation than cultural appropriation or mockery
In agreement with Mr Tukaki, many Kardashian supporters insisted the clip was closer to cultural appreciation than cultural appropriation or mockery.
‘They pronounced most of the words better than half the people I know do,’ one Kiwi pointed out.
Others said the video simply depicted children enjoying themselves, and therefore should not be subjected to close scrutiny or debate.
The Kardashians are not new to controversy and have been accused of cultural appropriation countless times.
In October, Kourtney was slammed for branding herself ‘Moana’ in photos from her sister Kim’s controversial island getaway.
The character Moana was depicted as a Polynesian girl in the 2016 animated Disney film of the same name.
Kim has also been called out for wearing a traditional Indian maang tikka head piece for a church service in 2019, and modelling long black braids and calling them ‘Bo Derek Braids’ in 2018.
Similarly, Khloé was heavily criticised for wearing her hair in cornrows while on a family vacation in 2019.
One furious fan tweeted at the time: ‘Having a black kid doesn’t give you permission to appropriate black hair, you know. Just saying…’
Kendall and Kylie Jenner were hit with accusations of cultural appropriation in 2017 over their fashion line’s $145 plaid shirt worn in a style popularised by Hispanics.
Controversy: The Kardashian family has been accused of cultural appropriation several times in the past. Pictured: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West with their children North and Saint
The Kardashians are yet to comment on the backlash.
While the family has no known ancestral ties to New Zealand, Khloé recently confirmed a new business partnership involving a Kiwi company.
In October, the 36-year-old was announced as the new global spokesperson for New Zealand-founded collagen brand Dose & Co.
Ties: While the family has no known ancestral ties to New Zealand, Khloé recently confirmed a new business partnership involving a Kiwi company. Pictured (L-R): Kim Kardashian West, Khloé Kardashian and Kylie Jenner on December 14, 2019, in Los Angeles