After being called out for wearing faux dreadlocks, Demi Lovato still doesn't get it

After being called out for wearing faux dreadlocks, Demi Lovato still doesn't get it
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In Cheat Codes's new video for the song "No Promises," which features Demi Lovato, you'll see the 24-year-old singer looking a little different than usual. 

Her hair isn't in a bouncy bob or wavy curls, but rather in a style that, from afar, easily looks like dreadlocks. 

"No Promises"
Source: 
YouTube
"No Promises"
Source: 
YouTube

As images — and the video — appeared online, her fans thought so too. 

Was their favorite pop star really taking a note from Miley Cyrus, Marc Jacobs and Khloé Kardashian on this one? 

Actually, no, she wasn't. Lovato's hair wasn't really in locs, but rather in a style that looked a lot like locs, with her hair in tiny twists. 

But this is where Lovato messed up a little. On Twitter, rather than consider why people were offended at the idea of her wearing locs, Lovato simply brushed it off, like it was no big deal. "They were twists not dreads," Lovato wrote, ending the tweet with an eye-roll emoji and "#relax." 

Although some fans were quick to defend Lovato, others thought it was a big deal. 

They wanted Lovato to not just publicly deny that they were dreads, but also let her fans know that she understands why that would be so hurtful. 

For a celebrity that has been outspoken about body image, eating disorders and mental health, publicly understanding cultural appropriation seemed like something she could handle. 

However, rather than going that route, Lovato chose to continue to brush off the accusations and defend herself and her hairstyle. 

"Btw they looked fucking rad anyway," she wrote.

That, in turn, incited anger among her fans, who still wanted Lovato to admit that they had every right to feel uncomfortable with the idea that Lovato would wear a hairstyle that strongly resembles locs in the first place. 

"The appropriate response would be 'I didn't have dreads and I'd never be so culturally insensitive,'" one Twitter user wrote. "It's so sad I ever looked up to you." 

Lovato has a history of firing off on Twitter without thinking twice, as well as a history with not understanding how important locs are in black culture, and how they're viewed by mainstream culture. 

Although Lovato was correct this time in telling her fans that she wasn't actually wearing dreadlocks, this stands as an example for celebrities on how not to deny appropriation accusations. 

Yes, it was considerate of her to even address it — something the Kardashian-Jenner family, despite appropriating a ton, doesn't do — but Lovato also rolled her eyes while doing it. For many people, appropriation of black culture is a serious thing. 

As beauty writer Patrice Beck previously told Mic: "The real problem is that it goes back to that phrase, 'Everybody wants to be black until it's time to be black.' It's just considered sort of offensive to me personally when other groups want to pick and choose what they like out of black culture but then they don't want to help combat these issues that black people face as a group. So it's this sort of mining and exploitation of all of the richness of our culture while not wanting to address any of the other things that we're facing."

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Rachel Lubitz

Rachel is a senior Style writer at Mic. She previously worked for The Washington Post's Style section for more than three years. Feel free to contact her at rachel@mic.com.

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