As a coherent, drivable hypothesis, cultural appropriation has big- I suspect insoluble- problems centred around definition and intent. Fucking define cultural appropriation in a way that does not negate the concept right into the ground, for one thing. You can't really do it; in one way or another, everyone alive is 'appropriating' virtually everything in their lives. It could be successfully argued that I'm appropriating the term 'cultural appropriation', for fuck's sake. That doesn't mean the core concept does not have legitimacy or merit.
Let's take the uncommon sense approach. What is the fundamental objection at the heart of the CA concept? That a group or individual is uplifting the (usually) material expression of an unrelated person or entity without consent, and is using that expression in a way that profits the usurper and denigrates both the material and its original proponents. That usage is exacerbated by any privilege the appropriator might enjoy, obviously. But we can boil that down to a simple question everyone can ask, both of themselves and of others.
Am I being tacky and exploitative?
Those considerations can dissolve away most of the crusty bullshit that obfuscates the central theme of cultural appropriation and neatly closes all those bus-size holes that plague its popular idiom. Because the spirit of the concept extends beyond traditional notions of 'culture' and into taste and respect per se. Why not try this at home?
Dreads aren't and never have been an exclusively African-American (or even African) thing, so the people citing that aspect were mostly wrong. The underlying point re black Americans being criticised for wearing their hair naturally whilst Jacobs' models are rewarded for working dreads is absolutely valid but that's more a straight-up racist thing than the theft of an exclusive expression. Not sure racism needs another fancy euphemism, to be honest.
IMO, Jacobs was being tacky and exploitative, no contest. Fashion dicks might not like it, but dreads still are- intrinsically and traditionally- an expression of defiance against the socio-economic principles their particularly disgusting business model relies upon. No one wears them to look more corporate or materially affluent. By sticking them on fucking Kendal Jenner et al, Jacobs trivialises their social context for profit. If he gave a shit about any of that he wouldn't have done it. So fuck him.
The same applies to Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Katey Perry and every other arsehole who's jacked something wholesale for nothing more than the narcissistic jööjing of their own commercialised spectacle. It's absolutely possible to incorporate aspects of a culture or aesthetic you admire without being a ruthless and/or clueless cunt about it. You just have to care enough to bother. Next.
Here in New Zealand there is debate about the use of Maori iconography by non-Maori; we'll narrow it down here to ta moko- tattoos- for the sake of brevity and because you international types have probably seen what I'm talking about. While race or ethnicity should never restrict anyone's appreciation of or identification with another culture's aesthetic, applying sacred moko to oneself without respect for its significance is tacky and exploitative. Unfortunately, covering oneself in nasty, bastardised, nominally Maori 'tribal' tattoos with zero clues about their cultural context is a practise beloved by New Zealanders of all ethnicities, including plenty of Maori.
So it's demonstrably possible for someone to 'appropriate' their own culture, especially when we're observing the despotically conservative racial=cultural affinity model that spawned this contemporary understanding of appropriation in the fucking first place. Which is surely a reductio ad absurdum moment that should chasten its most strident internet advocates.
I feel absolutely comfortable with a house full of objects sourced from other cultures, in my adoption of non-traditional Pakeha dress and in my attribution of other languages and ethnicities to the fictional characters in my writing. Probably because I spend most of my life attempting to inform myself about extrinsic experience and the practises that inspired them. I worry that this appropriation hysteria will only feed the kind of parochialism and incuriosity that is already blighting this infant century. But I support other peoples' right to wear a First Nation war bonnet to a fucking festival because it's better for everyone when thoughtless arseclowns self-identify succinctly and expeditiously.
If you have enough empathy to worry about the tenor of your own conduct here's all you need to ask yourself anent that shit. Am I being tacky and exploitative? Am I perpetuating an ignorant perception of a group/culture in an attempt to garner attention or profit for myself?
No? You're probably alright, then.