[J]ustin Bieber’s unprecedented comeback has essentially rendered him bulletproof to criticism and, mercifully, seen him adopt a new and enlightened level of self-awareness. Amidst a string of photos with rumoured bae Hailey Baldwin, he posted one of himself sporting cornrows, which, let’s be honest, set above Caucasian skin, more than whiffs of cultural appropriation. ‘Hailey made me get corn rows like an absolute douche bag, these will be off tomorrow trust me Danny’.
Nearly 2 million likes though, either for the new ‘do or for his promise of immediate removal, JB’s short-lived cornrows are probably our favourite. However, it’s never a good look on a white-boy, something to which our list below will attest. These fellas, for whatever reason, chose this intrinsically inappropriate hairstyle and have to live with that choice. Thankfully none of these exists in the current state but here’s a round-up of the worst cornrows we’ve ever seen.
James Franco in Spring Breakers
James Franco exists in a vacuum, the lines between performance art, self-promotion and not-giving-a-fuck are blurred beyond repair. The cornrows and half-finished tattoos he sported in Spring Breakers are what happen if you took his character from Pineapple Express and swapped out the weed for meth, and Seth Rogen for Selena Gomez. The look is often attributed to Riff Raff, but Franco claims his inspiration came from local Florida rapper Dangeruss who cameos in the movie. He was not available for comment.
Axl Rose’s strawberry cornrows are indicative of a time when classic rock ’n’ roll held more relevance in the world. A pre-Drake era, a time before Spotify. Axl Rose, the sole original member of Guns N’ Roses has made the odd public appearance, he was coaxed out of oblivion by Jack Black for an MTV award show where he introduces The Killers and you can actually see his heart break for the state of the music industry. A few decades, 80lbs and one handlebar moustache later he’s shed his trademark hairstyle for the classic big hat/sunglasses combination. Cornrows or not, his legacy was commended by an induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, which he declined and requested exclusion from too. Badass for life.
David Beckham has long been as famous for his locks as his goal scoring. It goes without saying, his 2003 cornrows and designer stubble was a look everyone is trying to forget. Especially David. ‘“It was bad timing as well as I was going to South Africa at the time with England and ended up meeting Nelson Mandela so that’s why I regret that one.” Yikes.
We know, we know, you’re wondering what Kevin Federline is up to since the dissolution of his marriage to Britney Spears in 2006. Not a whole lot, it seems. One rap album, a guest spot on One Tree Hill (!) and a stint of Celebrity Fit Club. He has lost his rows though, this is troubling because people like him should have warning signs on them, which was essentially the function of white-guy-wearing-cornrows in the first place. Some people just need a non-verbal way to express ’don’t come within 10 feet of me’.
You can go through a lot of emotions being in one of the most successful boybands of all time, one of the emotions is ginger cornrows. In an interview with Playboy Justin joked about needing therapy to erase his memory of cornrows and matching denim outfits, which after consideration probably wasn’t a joke but a painfully veiled truth. By now most people have clocked on that Zayn Malik’s career is going to parallel JT’s indefinitely, at the time of publishing Zayn hasn’t and never has had cornrows but wait and see because history is known to repeat itself.