Kenya Moore is apologizing for dressing up in a “disrespectful and insensitive” costume on a recent episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta.
On Sunday, March 21, the reality TV personality received backlash for wearing a Halloween costume that she dubbed a “Warrior Princess” during Falynn Guobadia‘s house party. Fans took to Twitter to discuss the Bravo star’s outfit of choice with one user writing, “Kenya, the ‘Native American’ costume is ignorant and played out. Do better.”
“Kenya and this offensive ass costume. I can’t defend this one,” another shared, with someone else adding, “Kenya Moore preaching about disrespect while she is wearing an Native American headdress— umm ok…”
After coming under fire, Kenya issued an apology on Tuesday, March 23.
“I want to sincerely apologize for inappropriately wearing the Native American headdress as a costume,” she said in a statement on Twitter. “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.”
Moreover, Bravo addressed the incident and apologized to both the Native American community and its audiences for not addressing “this properly” onscreen.
“Bravo aims to have the highest standards of respect and inclusivity and 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 shared in a statement to E! News on March 23. “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.”
Bravo first shared its statement on Monday, March 22 in the comments section of the IllumiNative Instagram page—which is a Native-led nonprofit initiative that helps to increase the visibility of Natives in American society.
The nonprofit had previously discussed the 50-year-old star’s attire, writing in part, “We are deeply disturbed by last night’s episode of #RHOA in which @thekenyamoore wore a Native American ‘warrior princess’ costume.”
“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 message continued. “Countless research studies show the harm these images, actions, and the normalization of these behaviors have on our youth. We also know the dehumanization and sexualization of Native women contributes to the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women.”
During Sunday’s episode, Kenya’s Real Housewives of Atlanta co-stars also noted her costume.
“Kenya’s Native American costume is super problematic but I ain’t trying to ruffle no feathers for this girls trip,” Drew Sidora said during her confessional. “It feels like I’m always the only one that sees the issues with Kenya Moore’s decisions.”
The White Chicks actress later tweeted, “Stop Culture Appropriation Periodt.”
Porsha Williams also commented on the Bravolebrity’s outfit during her confessional, saying, “Kenya is a Native American warrior. I thought we weren’t doing that no more. Like, I knew that this girl was crazy, but add lame to the list, add whack to the list.”
On the series’ after-show special, which was shared on YouTube on March 22, LaToya Ali explained that she “couldn’t take Kenya seriously” when they got into a heated conversation during the party because Kenya was “in an Indian-chief costume…Isn’t that called cultural appropriation?”
“I don’t think she was wearing the costume to mock anyone,” Kandi Burruss added. “I think she thought it was a beautiful costume because it’s the sign of a leader—a chief is someone to look up to, not to be made fun of. I don’t think she was doing it as a joke to be mean or anything.”
(E! and Bravo are part of the NBCUniversal family.)