BTS member V recently found himself at the center of a controversy involving his choice to wear a Durag during a Weverse live session with fans. This article explores the incident, its cultural implications, and the divided reactions it has sparked among BTS fans and the wider community. Kim Taehyung went live on the fan-to-artist communication app Weverse after attending Lil Uzi Vert’s afterparty following a performance at the One Universe Festival 2023 in Seoul. During the live session, he shared his experiences at the afterparty and mentioned a gift he received.
Taehyung v bts red durag african live pic.twitter.com/6DT1MbBDmp
— • (@lxcbang) October 8, 2023
The Durag and Its Significance
A red Durag caught fans’ attention as it hung on a keyboard stand behind V. He briefly wore the Durag but didn’t reveal who had given it to him. Durags have a significant history, initially designed to protect the hair of Black men, maintain hairstyles, and preserve curl patterns. They have historical roots tracing back to head wraps worn by Black American slaves. Society has often associated Durags with signs of poverty and subordination.
However, during the 1990s, they transformed into a symbol of empowerment and pride within the Black community, popularized by hip-hop artists.
Mixed Reactions and Cultural Appropriation
V’s decision to wear the Durag elicited mixed reactions, primarily concerning whether it constituted cultural appropriation. Given Durag’s deep cultural and historical roots, some argued that wearing it, especially for aesthetic purposes by someone not of Black descent, could be seen as culturally insensitive. Critics expressed disappointment, considering it inappropriate for V, a non-Black individual, to use it as a fashion accessory.
I’m indonesian, i would love to gift Tae our traditional outfit and would be proud if he wears it! it’s sad that everything is considered offensive nowadays. We should learn to embrace other’s curiosity about ones cultures. #AlwaysWithTaehyung pic.twitter.com/NT92k9GAtB
— Dear V_ʟᴀʏᴏ(ꪜ)ᴇʀ 🐯🐻 (@dear_vante) October 8, 2023
"yet are still treated like this" like what exactly? Some were calling it "red boxing straps" so Tae respectfully educated us what it was and respectfully showed us how to tie it. This was him showing cultural appreciation. It's only problematic if you wear it to "mock" https://t.co/mvOGYh4vDi pic.twitter.com/ri0zKF7a5v
— 🍓| ʟᴀʏᴏ(ꪜ)ᴇʀ (@l0SBt) October 9, 2023
Conversely, others, including members of the Black community, defended V’s actions. They emphasized that his choice to wear the Durag should not automatically be deemed racist, as he demonstrated respect for the culture and correctly tied the Durag. Some supporters speculated that the Durag could have been a gift from Lil Uzi Vert, given V’s discussion of the afterparty.
The Debate Continues
The controversy has left fans divided, with ongoing discussions about the origins of the Durag and its cultural significance. Some argue that V’s close collaborations with Black artists may grant him cultural space to wear the Durag, while opponents maintain that using it for aesthetics remains offensive.
As of now, neither BTS’ management company, BIGHIT MUSIC, nor V himself has addressed the growing mixed reactions and backlash. The incident highlights the complexities surrounding cultural appropriation, respect for cultural symbols, and the role of public figures in these discussions.