Kenya Moore is apologizing for wearing a Native American headdress as a Halloween costume in a recently aired episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. The reality star has been hit by backlash for “cultural appropriation.”
“I want to sincerely apologize for inappropriately wearing the Native American headdress as a costume,” Kenya Moore wrote on Instagram. “I now realize that this was both disrespectful and insensitive and would never have done it if I had that knowledge and understanding beforehand. I regret it. When you know better, you do better. I am genuinely sorry.”
Kenya’s outfit sparked controversy following Sunday’s Halloween themed episode of the series, which featured a cast costume bash.
Lots of costumes, from a mermaid to an astronaut, were featured during the episode, but it was Kenya’s outfit that invited lots of fan chatter. Bravo labeled Kenya’s getup as “Native American,” but Kenya, wearing a fringe dress and feathered headdress, described the look as a “warrior princess.”
Kenya’s cast mates voiced their concerns with the costume choice. Drew Sidora called the getup “problematic” and Porsha Williams noted, “I thought we weren’t doing that no more.”
As reported, Kenya was blasted on social media for her ensemble, and responded by simply stating that it reflected “part of my heritage.”
“We are deeply disturbed by last night’s episode of #RHOA,” IllumiNative, a nonprofit activist group that “challenges the negative narrative” of Natives, wrote on Instagram on Monday.
“Costumes that mock Native peoples, defame our traditions and cultures, and perpetuate negative stereotypes are racist. ‘Playing Indian’ is a form of mascotry that is not just offensive, it is part of a long history of how Native peoples have been dehumanized,” the group added.
IllumiNative also noted that they were “incredibly concerned” that no one shut down the spectacle—including producers, Bravo, Comcast, or parent company, NBC Universal.
“The series has had several instances of racism and offensive behavior and yet it seems no training, procedures, or standards have been sent to stop offensive acts,” the Native led group added.
Bravo responded to the controversy, admitting that airing Kenya’s Halloween look didn’t line up with the “highest standards of respect and inclusivity.”
“We recognize that the recent episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, in which a cast member wears a Native American costume, did not uphold those values,” the network wrote under the group’s post. “We had hoped it would provide a teachable moment, however in retrospect it is clear that the network did not address this properly given the gravity of the situation. We apologize to both the Native American community and our audience as a whole.”
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Bravo has been hit by allegations of alleged racism and offensive behavior in the past. RHOA alum, NeNe Leakes, called out Bravo and executive producer, Andy Cohen, on social media in September, alleging that she had experienced “systemic racism” during her time on the show.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs on Sundays at 8 pm, ET, on Bravo.