Ex-Net Kenyon Martin and current Net Jeremy Lin feuded about cultural appropriation on social media this week.
Ex-Net Kenyon Martin and current Net Jeremy Lin took to social media this week in the most furious battle over style and culture since the cast of Spike Lee’s School Daze talked good and bad hair.
To recap: Martin came out swinging with a since-deleted Instagram post reacting to Lin’s dreadlocks. Martin accused Lin of… well, the polite term would probably be “cultural appropriation.” The less-polite version is here, courtesy of a video posted by The New York Post:
(One might question why one grown man would feel the need to “agree with” another man’s hairstyle, but that’s a separate discussion.)
To his credit, Lin’s response — his immediate reply in an interview captured by NetsDaily.com and in a longer article posted on The Players’ Tribune is a thoughtful plea for understanding between different minority groups. He also explained how he sought out the opinions of a number of teammates and other associates.
I still wasn’t sure. A recent conversation I had with Savannah Hart, a Nets staff member who’s African-American, really resonated with me. I told her about my thought process — how I was really unsure about getting dreads because I was worried I’d be appropriating black culture. She said that if it wasn’t my intention to be dismissive of another culture, then maybe it could be an opportunity to learn about that culture.
Savannah introduced me to Nancy Moreau — my kind and amazing braider from the All Hair Matters Salon in Rockland County — who did my hair when I first got to Brooklyn. Nancy is already well-known around the Nets practice facility for doing hair for myself and the Nets staff, and the players and their children. And Nancy gave me another push to go for dreads.
Lin and teammate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got their dreads last weekend, a process that took eight hours.
Naturally, Lin’s thoughtful discourse on race relations and basketball didn’t get quite as much attention as the saltier aspect of his response. He couldn’t resist pointing out the fact that Martin has Chinese characters tattooed on his arms.
It’s certainly possible that Lin was prepared to defend his choice of hairstyle because so many of his previous coiffures — from Kemba Walker-inspired braids to the modified Gordon Gekko to this Final Fantasy-esque look to the Birdman-esque mohawk the always-unfortunate man-bun — have been largely indefensible.