“Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore apologized Tuesday after she was criticized for wearing a Native American headdress on an episode of the hit Bravo show.
Moore, a Black woman, told Page Six she regretted her choice of costuming, which was an elaborate headdress and matching “warrior princess” dress, which she picked out for a Halloween costume-themed episode that aired Sunday.
“I want to sincerely apologize for inappropriately wearing the Native American headdress as a costume,” Moore said. “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.”
Bravo addressed the controversy with a statement of its own Monday night.
“Bravo aims to have the highest standards of respect and inclusivity and we recognize that the recent episode of ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta,’ in which a cast member wears a Native American costume, did not uphold those values,” the network’s statement read. “We had hoped it would provide a teachable moment, however in retrospect it is clear that the network did not address this properly given the gravity of the situation. We apologize to both the Native American community and our audience as a whole.”
A nonprofit activist group of Native Americans called IllumiNative was the first to vocally oppose Moore’s choice of costuming. In an Instagram post March 22, the group said it was “incredibly concerned” by Bravo and NBCUniversal’s choice to not stop the segment from airing on “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
“We are deeply disturbed by last night’s episode of #RHOA in which @thekenyamoore wore a Native American ‘warrior princess’ costume,” IllumiNative wrote. “Costumes that mock Native peoples, defame our traditions and cultures, and perpetuate negative stereotypes are racist. ‘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. The series has had several instances of racism and offensive behavior and yet it seems no training, procedures, or standards have been sent to stop offensive acts, which go against the values @comcast professes to have,” IllumiNative concluded.
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