Kim Kardashian Won CFDA Influencer & Adwoa Aboah Was NOT Having It

This Monday, the 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards reeled in the brightest and most creative minds in the fashion industry all under one roof. However, the CFDA Awards also reeled in tons of controversy after Kim Kardashian took home the CFDA’s first-ever Influencer Award. Fashion models Winnie Harlow and Adwoa Aboah took to social media this past week to express their thoughts on Kim’s win, and let’s just say they had very different opinions on the matter.

While Winnie recognized Kim as an inspiring influence, who was deserving of the honor, Adwoa called the win a “joke,” with netizens all joining in on the conversation.

The debate began when Winnie posted a congratulatory photo of herself and Kim at the awards ceremony on her Instagram this past Monday. Winnie affirmed her support for Kim with her photo caption saying, “One of the realist and most down to earth people in any industry I’ve ever been around” and “Keep inspiring women around the world to be themselves Unapologetically.”

Things started to heat up when Adwoa commented under Winnie’s Insta post. Metro reports that Adwoa commented with, “Is this a joke babe...In what world has she inspired women to be themselves? She is no icon nor an influencer and I find it completely crazy that anyone would think she was.”

Adwoa’s comment invited other Insta users to weigh in, with some liking her comment and commenting their own support for her statement, while others rushed to defend Winnie and Kim. Some people cited reasons like Kim’s hard work as a female entrepreneur to give her the Influencer award, while others brought up issues such as her richness, “fakeness” regarding her looks, and engagement in cultural appropriation.

According to BET, Winnie soon replied to Adwoa’s comment saying, “We've all been up against all kinds in these industries. I may not agree with everything anyone does but I show love where I feel it's due. And a woman being herself against everything is admirable. I've done dumb things and learned to correct because we're all human. I'm still beat up for things and I understand how it feels. I do think she inspires others to be themselves...maybe I just want to see the best in people. There are negatives to everything but... she's a great human being.”

Winnie and Adwoa are both models who are shaking up the visuals of the modeling world, bringing their own beauty as women of color to the fashion industry. Naturally, they both look toward bettering the fashion world through inclusion and diversity. So while they hold differing views regarding Kim’s win, this little social media exchange was a conversation that had to be brought up.

While it's admirable that Kim continues to be herself despite criticism, the critiques behind her win are still worth hearing and discussing. As a highly affluent woman, who has engaged in a number of instances of cultural appropriation (along with many members of her family), Kim still falls into a gray area when it comes to being a truly positive “influencer” who cares about the social consequences of her actions.

Seeing someone who hasn’t outrightly apologized for her cultural appropriation get the Influencer award would, of course, not sit well with people, especially the Black community. To add insult to injury, the CFDA awards awarded the Emerging Talent to white designers, despite all the other nominees in the category being equally talented women of color. For many, the CFDA missed an opportunity to award women designers who are not only extraordinary but excelled despite the challenges presented to women of color in the fashion-making industry.

While The Cut notes that Naomi Campbell took home the Icon award, people were still saddened to see that Black people were only recognized as inspiration for fashion, instead of the makers and proprietors of it. Edward Enninful, however, was one Black style influencer who won the Media Award, according to Vogue. Not many disagreed with this particular honor given his outstanding contributions toward diversifying British Vogue magazine as its Editor-in-Chief.

So, even after all these disputes, Winnie and Adwoa’s exchange invited a much-needed conversation on influences and the importance of spotlighting deserving figures in the industry. So while the validity of Kim’s win is still up for debate, let’s hope these conversations of social awareness in the fashion industry continue.

Iesha Ismail is currently a junior double major in English and Women's Studies at the University of Florida. Iesha is a Feature Writer and Style Blogger for Her Campus National and Features Editor for Her Campus UFL. She is an Editorial Intern for Ecophiles Media as well as a Writer for UF Sparks Magazine. She loves to observe nature and fashion as inspiration for all kinds writing she's into. Fashion, culture, drawing, and animation are just a few of the passions she plays with on the daily. Whether it's writing colorful stories or sketching in her worn out sketchbooks, Iesha always dabbles in anything art.

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