Recently, a rumor circulated that Puerto Rican Grammy winning singer-songwriter Bad Bunny was seeing model Kendall Jenner. The tip was first sent in to the popular gossip account deuxmoi, and were later confirmed by paparazzi photos of the pair embracing in Hollywood. The images sent shockwaves across the internet, but not for the expected reasons.
While Bad Bunny’s fans were first humorously upset about how their celebrity crush and favorite artist was taken, the conversation quickly took a more serious turn. The Kardashian-Jenner family has been accused of cultural appropriation on multiple occasions–from wearing box braids to excessive tanning. Jenner later followed in her older half sisters’ footsteps–with the way she chose to promote her own Tequila brand.
There have been several celebrities who have entered the tequila market, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Rande Gerber and George Clooney, and Kevin Hart. Some would argue that there are already some ethical problems with entering a market based on a Mexican tradition that takes away profits from the local community that started the entire industry. The other celebrity Tequila brands all took a different route than Jenner when advertising the product, which is what landed Jenner in hot water over her popular 818 Tequila brand.
In Jenner’s ad, she parades through an agave field on a white horse (the plant that is part of the tequila process) and is dressed in a Mexican rebozo, a type of traditional shawl worn. Her hair is worn in two braids, a stereotypical hairstyle for young Mexican girls, and she clinks glasses with the farmers at the end. Jenner’s insertion into Mexican culture and ranchero culture is what had many Mexican and Latino people calling it cultural appropriation.
This all ties back to Bad Bunny, because the Puerto Rican singer has repeatedly defended his home country from stereotypes and spoken out against the cultural appropriation of Latino culture. He has long been praised for raising money for Puerto Rican aid amid natural disasters, and representing his hometown on major stages like the Grammys.
i usually don’t care about who benito is dating but the fact that he’s dating an objectively bad person who loves to appropriate latine culture when he’s so vocal about yt people wanting to take our culture is very unsettling https://t.co/golKjW8oEw
— josie 🌙 (@hoesieee) March 8, 2023
Puerto Rico has a long history of colonization–from Spain, Portugal, and the U.S., which presently still maintains ownership of the commonwealth. The relationship is being criticized as the colonization of pop culture.
karma for kendall gentrifying benito https://t.co/axfTfUbrRF
— fati ❀ (@fatimaxvi) March 9, 2023
when benito says 818 is his fave tequila then what? pic.twitter.com/V6qLaUBvTy
— Dinithi (@adeedoes) March 8, 2023
Some even pointed out that Jenner didn’t put in the effort to learn to pronounce certain words in Spanish when promoting her tequila company.
REALLY BENITO… WITH THE BIGGEST COLONIZING BITCH EVER…
THE SAME BITCH WHO CANT SAY AÑEJO OR REPOSADO PROPERLY TO HER OWN TEQUILA BRAND
U WERE IN THE STUDIO MAKING EL APAGON FOR WHAT?
SHE CANT EVEN CUT A CUCUMBER pic.twitter.com/fTAiXvLkml
— Marifer 🍒 (@lamariferxo) March 9, 2023
Cultural appropriation in internet culture has become an increasing issue in the past year, specifically on TikTok. There are several beauty trends that creators of color came forward to discuss as appropriation, most notably Hailey Bieber’s “brownie glazed lips” of the fall of 2022. Bieber’s trend involved using a dark brown lip liner and a clear or light colored gloss on top of it, a trend first made popular by Black, Latina, and South Asian women in the 90s. Her repackaging of a trend that was once viewed in a racially profiled negative light garnered plenty of backlash.Ironically, Bieber remains close personal friends with Jenner, which is another source of concern.
ready for all the fall things including brownie glazed lips ✨✨✨🤎🤎🤎
Not me just noticing I’m wearing my Malcom X tee 😂🤷🏽♀️ #haileybieber #haileybieberlipcombo #haileybieberlipliner #drama #latina #brownieglazedlips
Many fear that the relationship will only further inspire Jenner to culturally appropriate Latino culture, and create potentially harmful content for young Latina women. Cultural appropriation is defined as “the inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, or ideas, of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.” Essentially, taking trends that are often looked down upon for marginalized communities and making them more palatable because they are adorned by white people.
Neither Bad Bunny nor Kendall Jenner have spoken out regarding the social media backlash facing their relationship.