• Musician Summer Walker was criticized for her outfit at the 2022 BET Awards on Sunday.
  • Walker wore a look designed by Laurel Street and said it was inspired by traditional Hmong jewelry.
  • The brand apologized via its Instagram stories, writing: "I will further educate myself."

Summer Walker is facing accusations of cultural appropriation for wearing traditional Hmong jewelry on the red carpet at the 2022 BET Awards on Sunday.

The 26-year-old "No Love" singer wore black-and-gold body jewelry that formed the outline of a bra, with matching gold pasties, designed by Laurel Street, according to an Instagram post shared by the musician on Sunday. Her outfit also included a matching miniskirt, wrist cuffs, and statement earrings.

When sharing the outfit post on Instagram on Sunday, Walker wrote that the look was inspired by traditional Hmong jewelry, referring to the indigenous community located across Southeast Asia, and credited the Laurel Street brand.

A post shared by Awkward Kween 🤍 (@summerwalker)

This sparked criticism from some fans, who said Walker and Laurel Street were appropriating the items of cultural significance and taking them out of context by sexualizing them, as noted in one of Laurel Street's Instagram stories on Monday.

Walker and representatives for Laurel Street did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, but the latter took to Instagram to address its intentions and apologize. 

In a statement shared on its Instagram story on Monday, the jewelry brand wrote: "I am of South Asian heritage I understand we should have mentioned the beautiful Hmong culture, these are archived Hmong pieces." The designer added that she customized the original designs with quartz and added that she didn't intend to offend anyone.

Hmong villager Lo Thi May wears traditional jewelry while making embroidery patterns in Mu Cang Chai district, Yen Bai province, Vietnam. Foto: AP Photo/Hau Dinh

"I love to celebrate all cultures, diversity and sometimes try to switch the narrative through pieces," the statement read. They apologized for "not sharing and educating on the history of the Hmong people" and said they would further educate themselves.

The statement concluded: "Summer Walker is a living breathing goddess, it was not our intention to sexualise these pieces but more a celebration of life and the beauty of women."

According to the Hmong Daily News, a silver "xauv" necklace, which means "lock," was worn by the Hmong for centuries as a means of identification when the Hmong were captured and enslaved by the Chinese centuries ago. In a modern-day context, the xauv is used to accessorize traditional Hmong clothing and serves as a reminder of the community's previous enslavement and freedom.

The red-carpet moment came hours after Walker announced during an Instagram Live that she was pregnant with her second child, her first from her current relationship with LVRD Pharoh, People reported. The publication added that she also has a 1-year-old daughter, Bubbles, with producer London on Da Track. 

"People asking me if I'm pregnant," she said in the Instagram announcement, according to People. "I am and you know I'm very, very, very, very happy about it."

Walker said that she's "very excited about it," adding: "It's going to be different from how it was before. It's really peaceful, really happy, lots of help, lots of love."

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