Summer Walker is facing backlash for wearing outfits that many say are a product of cultural appropriation.

BET Awards 2022 - Red Carpet

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

The singer’s 2022 BET Awards outfit caught a lot of people’s attention, but unfortunately for Walker, the reactions aren’t all positive.

After wearing a similar ensemble for their performance at the Arena over the weekend, which repurposed a traditional Hmong necklace, the pregnant singer wore another Hmong-inspired outfit to the BET Awards on Sunday. She stepped out wearing a Laurel Street ensemble comprised of a miniskirt and a barely-there “bra” made of black crystals and gold coins, adding a pair of gilded pasties.

2022 BET Awards - Arrivals

Source: Amy Sussman / Getty

In her caption on Instagram, Walker acknowledged that their outfit was “inspired by traditional Hmong jewelry,” but that doesn’t mean fans were happy with the ensemble.

Regardless of the entertainer’s acknowledgment, her followers criticized Walker for “sexualizing” the attire of the indigenous people from Southwest China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar.

Centuries ago, via Yahoo! News, the Hmong people were enslaved by the Chinese and forced to wear necklaces for identification. After their independence, they designed a necklace called a xuav, meaning “chain,” in remembrance of the hardships of their past. Today, xuavs are worn during traditional celebrations as a poignant symbol of the Hmong identity.

BET Awards 2022 - Red Carpet

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

So, people familiar with the history of Hmong jewelry took to social media to speak out about Walker’s outfit choices and how harmful it is to glamorize these historical pieces.

This backlash over Walker’s Arena outfit seems to be why Summer tipped their hat to Hmong culture in their caption at the BET Awards, but fans weren’t looking for acknowledgment–they were looking for the singer to not wear the attire in the first place.

The designer of the outfit, who identifies as being of “South Asian and Indian” descent, has since apologized for not crediting Hmong culture in the design of Walker’s outfit.

“We didn’t mean to offend anyone and yes we should have put the right captions and hashtags,” the brand responded on Instagram. “We have since removed the post because we do not wish to engage in further negativity.”

They continued, “I understand a lot of you are offended that was not my intention at all … it was not our intention to sexualize these pieces but more a celebration of life and the beauty of women.”


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