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Winnie Harlow is speaking out on cultural appropriation, and she has a different perspective than you may think.

Over the weekend, some of the model’s followers received backlash after images began to surface of White women attempting to mimic Winnie’s unique features (Harlow has a skin condition called vitiligo) by posing in what many consider to be blackface. Check out the images below and decide for yourself.

While some users found these images to be distasteful, “ridiculous,” and the latest instance of cultural appropriation (following similar fiascos from ELLE and Allure), Winnie had a very different outlook. The 21-year-old – who competed in Cycle 21 of America’s Next Top Model under the name Chantelle Brown-Young – had some choice words regarding race and appearance, and she shared them via Instagram, writing:

Just because a black girl wears blue contacts and long weave doesn’t mean she wants to be white and just because a white girl wears braids and gets lip injection doesn’t mean she wants to be black.

Read the lengthy message in its entirety below.

My response to this is probably not what a lot of people want but here it goes: every time someone wants fuller lips, or a bigger bum, or curly hair, or braids does Not mean our culture is being stolen. Have you ever stop to realize these things used to be ridiculed and now they’re loved and lusted over. No one wants to “steal” our look here. We’ve just stood so confidently in our own nappy hair and du-rags and big asses (or in this case, my skin) that now those who don’t have it love and lust after it. Just because a black girl wears blue contacts and long weave doesn’t mean she wants to be white and just because a white girl wears braids and gets lip injection doesn’t mean she wants to be black. The amount of mixed races in this world is living proof that we don’t want to be each other we’ve just gained a national love for each other. Why can’t we embrace that feeling of love? Why do we have to make it a hate crime? In a time when so much negative is happening, please don’t accuse those who are showing love and appreciation, of being hateful. It is very clear to me when someone is showing love and I appreciate these people recreating, loving and broadcasting something to the world that once upon a time I cried myself to sleep over #1LOVE 💋

Not surprisingly, a lot of people were not feeling Winnie’s response.

Feeling the heat, Winnie responded to the controversy again with a second and third message, writing:

The point here is not to make it seem that Blackface is okay, or act like our people haven’t gone through hell and back to then have things from our culture be stolen. #BlackLivesMatter this is very true. But this situation has nothing to do with blacks or whites. All races have recreated the pattern of my skin and when they did it, it was complimented and glorified. This is not appropriation, go look up the definition real quick!

Very interesting. Do you agree, or no?

SOURCE: Madame Noire | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter, Instagram

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Winnie Harlow
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