Blackpink's Jennie accused of cultural appropriation for having cornrows in HBO series The Idol

Blackpink's Jennie (far left) is seen in a trailer for upcoming HBO series The Idol as a back-up dancer. PHOTO: HBO/YOUTUBE

SEOUL - Blackpink's Jennie is set to make her Hollywood debut in HBO series The Idol, which was co-created by and stars singer The Weeknd.

However, her appearance in the trailer released on Sunday (July 17) has come under fire, as she has her hair in cornrows in a scene where she performs as a back-up dancer.

Netizens expressed disappointment over what they deemed cultural appropriation. Cornrows are a traditional style of braids in African culture in which the hair is braided very close to the scalp to make a continuous, raised row.

While some defended Jennie, 26, saying it was the decision of the producers of the show, others called out the K-pop idol for not speaking up about it, saying she had the clout to make a difference.

The drama, co-created by Sam Levinson, who also created teen drama Euphoria (2019 to present), follows a self-help guru and cult leader (The Weeknd) as he enters into a complicated relationship with a rising pop idol, played by Lily-Rose Depp.

Production was completed on the show earlier this month, but HBO has not announced a release date.

Fellow Blackpink member Lisa, 25, had similarly been called out for cultural appropriation in September 2021 for having dreadlocks in her Money music video. She subsequently apologised during a video call with her fans.

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