Both Kenya Moore and Bravo have apologized for the depiction of Kenya’s “Native American warrior princess” Halloween costume in the last episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
They issued their statements after IllumiNative, a non-profit organization that fights to “ensure accurate and authentic portrayals of Native communities,” criticized Bravo for allowing the costume to appear on their show.
Kenya’s controversial ensemble at RHOA Halloween party
Moore wore the outfit for a party at Falynn Guobadia’s house that Falynn threw for the Atlanta ladies. Most of the Housewives went all-out on their costumes; Shamea as an astronaut, Kandi as a cheetah, Cynthia as hand sanitizer, and Drew and Porsha as cats.
But when Kenya entered the room with a large Native American headdress and a Pocahontas-reminiscent dress, it certainly ruffled a couple of feathers at the moment.
Drew Sidora expressed her discomfort with Kenya’s appropriative outfit in the diary room.
“Kenya’s Native American costume is super problematic, but I’m not tryna ruffle no feathers before this girls’ trip,” Sidora pointed out. “It feels like I am always the only one that sees the issues with Kenya Moore’s decisions.”
During a confrontation with LaToya Ali during the party, Ali even laughed at Kenya over her headdress and said that she “couldn’t take her seriously” with it on.
Fellow Housewife Porsha Williams, who already has drama with Moore regarding what RHOA audiences are calling “Strippergate,” also pointed out that Kenya’s choice to wear the problematic costume was wrong. But this was also only in her diary room interview, and there was no evidence that any of the other attendees said anything to Kenya during the party.
Kenya’s costume choice caused outrage
The Instagram account for the organization IllumiNative (@_illuminative) released a statement calling out both Kenya and Bravo for allowing something so harmful to be aired on national television.
“Costumes that mock Native peoples, defame our traditions and cultures, and perpetuate negative stereotypes are racist,” they wrote. “‘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.”
“We are also incredibly concerned that none of the producers or executives at @bravotv, @comcast, @nbcuniversal intervened although several cast members commented on how uncomfortable, unnecessary, and offensive the costume was on camera.”
In response, Bravo commented on the post:
This also prompted Kenya to share an apology on her Twitter account.
Moore tweeted: “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.”
Most of the fans who responded to Kenya’s statement appreciated that she at least acknowledged that what she did was offensive and wrong. Others would like to see what Kenya will do to make up for her behavior.
It will be interesting to see if Kenya’s controversy may play into the upcoming RHOA New Orleans trip. Will one of the Housewives speak up about it? Bravo fans are anticipating guaranteed drama from this vacation.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays at 8/7c on Bravo.