Kenya Moore defends Native American costume: ‘Part of my heritage’

The reality TV star got some heat for her appearance during season 13's Halloween episode

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Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta is known for its laughs, feuds, and drama, but sometimes, that drama bleeds into real life with the fans of the show as well. After significant backlash, Kenya Moore is defending her Native American costume online, calling it “part of my heritage.”

Real housewife Kenya Moore, known for her fun and often shady personality, is in some hot water after her appearance on the show’s Halloween episode. Dressed in what she referred to as a “warrior princess,” Moore wore a feathered headdress and fringed dress which led to fans accusing the reality star of cultural appropriation.

Rolling Stone Live: Atlanta
Kenya Moore attends Rolling Stone Live: Atlanta at The Goat Farm on February 02, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

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While she didn’t seem to notice that her costume made her castmates (and fans) cringe, the other women of the show made their feelings known in their confessionals.

RHOA newbie Drew Sidora called Moore out in her confessional, saying, “Kenya’s Native American costume is super problematic but I ain’t trying to ruffle no feathers for this girl’s trip…it seems like I’m the only one who sees the issues with Kenya Moore’s decisions.”

Porsha Williams, who has had a roller-coaster relationship with Moore, also used her confessional to talk about Moore’s questionable costume decision. She explained to the audience, “She is a Native American warrior. I thought we weren’t doing that no more. I knew that this girl was crazy, but add lame to the list, add wack to the list.”

Of course, the conversation didn’t just stop at one episode. The ladies also broke down the look on Bravo After Show.

Williams doubled down on her stance on Moore’s costume in the after show, saying, “Someone was dressed fully, head to toe, in cultural appropriation. How many times they gotta ask us not to wear that? How many times? Head to toe, just drippin.'”

Kandi Burruss, however, came to her costar’s defense during the after show, insisting there was no malicious intent behind it.

“I didn’t think anything of it,” Burruss said. “If anything I think she, to be an Indian princess, she thinks that’s a beautiful thing…I don’t think she was wearing the costume to mock anyone. I think she thought it was a beautiful costume, a sign of a leader, 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.”

Fans quickly called Moore out on Twitter, rightfully disappointed in the reality star.

One fan wrote, “Kenya Moore coming to a party dressed as a “Native American” is probably the most disgusting thing I’ve seen on Housewives since Monique Samuels did it a couple seasons ago. Do better. #RHOA Sincerely; an Indigenous African-American woman.”

While Moore didn’t respond to any of her castmates, she did tweet seemingly in her own defense.

She wrote, “Also part of my heritage #RHOA,” responding to a fan who called her out for the insensitive costume.

Photo: Kenya Moore Twitter

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Appearing on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Sidora once again commented on Moore’s look. Sidora revealed to Cohen, “No one said anything…I think we talked about it afterward, but I was stunned.”

Sidora continued, saying, “It was just culturally immature, irresponsible…but I’m not gonna ruffle feathers.”

On Monday, Bravo issued an official apology for Moore’s costume and how the network handled the episode.

“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 statement read.

“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.”

TheGrio obtained a statement from IllumiNative, a Native-led nonprofit focused on raising visibility of Native issues and voices, in which they detail and contextualize Moore’s offensive costume. “We are deeply disturbed by the recent episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta, in which Kenya Moore wore a Native American ‘warrior princess’ costume,” the statement reads.

“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. 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.”

The statement also calls for Bravo, Comcast, NBC Universal, Andy Cohen, and Kenya Moore, to apologize and commit to “ensuring offensive displays like this never happen again.”

Bravo‘s Instagram account responded to IllumiNative‘s post, writing, “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.

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.”

Earlier today, Moore broke her silence after the various calls for an apology from the reality star.

She shared in a tweet, “I want to sincerely apologize for inappropriately wearing the Native American headdress as a costume. 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.”

Photo: Kenya Moore Twitter

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