Singer Kacey Musgraves Accused of Appropriating Vietnamese Culture

Country singer Kacey Musgraves is facing considerable backlash for wearing an áo dài — a traditional Vietnamese outfit — without anything else underneath on Instagram last week for a concert in Dallas. An áo dài is a two-piece outfit that traditionally has a tunic and pants.

Both American and Vietnamese media outlets have criticized Musgraves, the Washington Post reported, as well as Vietnamese Americans on Twitter. They accuse Musgraves of appropriating and degrading Vietnamese culture.

“i love u @kaceymusgraves, really, like i just bought tickets to your radio city music hall show in nyc. and u lookin’ slim thicc and all that. but girl u can notttt wear a vietnamese ao dai without the pants. it’s just wrong. pls respond bc this hurt my feelings :(,” tweeted Dan Q. Dao, a features writer.

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Other Twitter users went after Musgraves.

“When people do things like this, all it does is contribute to the dangerous notion of Southeast Asian femininity as inherently sexual,” Mai Nguyen Do, a poet and doctoral student, wrote on Twitter. “Please don’t further degrade this key part of Vietnamese culture and put on some pants like everyone else that wears áo dài.”

Other entertainers, including Rihanna, Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, have worn an áo dài the traditional and “appropriate” way.

Other major personalities, including YouTube blogger Michelle Phan, were also upset about Musgraves’ photos.

“Imagine seeing your national traditional dress being disrespected on stage,” Phan wrote on her Instagram account. “Since she’s a public figure, she might influence more people to think it’s trendy.”

Musgraves has not replied to requests for comment, according to the Post.

It’s not just the áo dài that people say Musgraves has appropriated. The headpiece that she is wearing in the photo looks like a particular type of Indian bridal jewelry.


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