Coco Austin isn't usually divisive. Mostly, she just posts photos of herself, her curves, and her adorable baby daughter, Chanel Nicole.
Recently, however, she came under fire for some heavy cultural appropriation. Coco took notice and made a couple of videos to try to explain herself. They started off pretty well.
And then she got defensive ... and ended up digging that hole even deeper, as you'll see in the video below.
We were 100% Team Coco when Coco Austin was attacked by mommy-shamers over ... having a daughter and a butt, basically.
But if we're going to stand up for Coco when she's right, we also need to call her out when she's wrong.
Recently, Coco shared some photos in which she showed off her hair in long, tight braids.
She referred to them as the "Coco Swoop," and fans got up in arms.
For one thing, the hairstyle is cultural appropriation. Just like how white people, who still benefit from centuries of institutionalized racism and white privilege, shouldn't refer to anything as their "spirit animal" if that's not a part of their genuine beliefs, certain hairstyles should be off-limits.
An especially big deal in this case was the fact that Coco appeared to be trying to take credit for the hairstyle.
By naming it as she did, it sounded as if she was claiming to have invented it.
Fans took to social media with their outcry.
Like so many stars, it appears that social media has made Coco Austin unable to differentiate between people trying to educate her about what she's done wrong and haters.
(Though, to be fair, some fans who comment and tweet don't seem to know the difference, either)
The result was that Coco, taking notice, made a video to talk about it.
"So, recently I got social media’s panties in a bunch because I did braids to my hair. This is so stupid. I can’t believe I’m talking about it, and I believe this shouldn’t be turned out to be a race thing."
Hair in that style of braids can't not be a race thing, Coco.
"I did my braids and I called them the Coco Swoop. I name all my styles that I do to myself. These are called the Coco Swoop. The braids before were called the Bo Derek Braids. And it’s a Coco-ism. I've always done it."
That's an understandable misunderstanding to people who don't already know that she does that.
"Why can’t we all rename hairstyles or braids? That sounds so stupid. Why is everybody claiming something they shouldn’t? I know braids have been around for thousands of years. Don’t you think I know that?"
She shows more education than some folks.
"If I wanna wear a pineapple on my head, then I should be able to wear a pineapple on my head and call it the Pineapple Coco-wop. I don’t know. You see where I’m going with this? Why is everybody hating?"
That's funny, right?
Like, she doesn't seem to understand the issue of cultural appropriation -- historically marginalized cultures have been and still are vilified for their appearance and culture.
Western culture spent decades mocking black people for their hair and lips, parodying them in blackface performances and cartoons.
A lot of companies won't hire people with certain hairstyles, and a lot of those hairstyles "just happen to be" associated with black people.
It's not a coincidence.
The very idea that some hairstyles are and are not "professional looking" comes from centuries of systematic, institutionalized racism.
It's a lot for people to unlearn.
And it's so painful for countless people to see a hairstyle that they can't have sported by someone like, say, Kylie Jenner or Justin Bieber, who are then celebrated as if they'd invented it.
That's why it's a big deal.
Coco doesn't deserve hate for it, but she should understand why people feel the way that she does.
It goes beyond a claim of ownership.
Unfortunately, Coco's second video -- we merged the two for you in the video below -- shows how much she still has to learn.
She makes an unfortunate comparison to Beyonce -- who, as a black woman, is not comparable to a white woman when it comes to hairstyles and cultural appropriation.
(And, honestly, even Queen Bey would get called out by everyone but the Beyhive if she tried to name an age-old hairstyle like this one)
"This should be a 'human thing,' right? Everybody should be able to do it. It’s a ‘human thing’ -- give that a shot -- not a race war."
This is one of people of color's least favorite things to hear from white people.
She might as well be saying we're all one race -- the human race.
Which is absolutely true, but after centuries of racism, slavery, and inequality, it sounds kind of disingenuous to hear a person of privilege saying that to defend their own rights.
"It has nothing to do with race. But this just goes to show you that no one reads the captions underneath pictures. Otherwise, you would understand that this is not an issue. It’s something that I do. It’s a Coco-ism, okay?"
It's ... more complicated than that, but we understand that she's frustrated.
She's a good person and we're sure that plenty of the "feedback" that she received crossed a line.
We wish that there were a reality show where a diverse panel of people went around and educated different stars about why exactly their behavior is problematic.
That's the word -- problematic.
Not bad, not racist, not evil.
Coco just made a mistake and got defensive, that's all.
Coco's at her best, really, when sharing photos of her adorable baby daughter, Chanel.
Or even twerking alongside her.
To no one's surprise, Ice T is sticking by her.
He says that the debate over her hair is stupid.
But, like ... he's her husband.
Standing up for his wife kind of goes with the territory, right?
We love Coco -- even when her hair and opinions are problematic -- and we hope that she one day comes to understand that she just made a mistake here.
It's okay to apologize when you get called out for being wrong.
But we do genuinely enjoy her pineapple analogy.