Adele has been accused of cultural appropriation after posting a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a bikini with the Jamaican flag on it as well as Bantu knots. The singer was celebrating Notting Hill Carnival, a London festival traditionally held every summer to celebrate Caribbean culture that was canceled this year due to coronavirus.
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- This is the first time Notting Hill Carnival has been canceled in 50 years. The event was due to be held on August 30 and 31st but due to safety concerns and the need for social distancing, the festival was canceled for 2020. However, that didn’t stop Adele, who grew up in Tottenham, from celebrating online. “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London,” she captioned the photo.
- Many people weren’t happy with Adele’s look. While those who live in London and are familiar with Notting Hill Carnival were pleased with Adele’s look, others accused her of cultural appropriation as she clearly isn’t of Jamaican heritage. “Black hairstyles are not for white people to steal during festival season or ever!” wrote one commenter. Another added, “No sis…. we love you but don’t appropriate people’s culture.”
- However, others recognized it as cultural appreciation rather than appropriation. Adele has always been an outspoken advocate of the BAME community in the UK and around the world and as many commenters pointed out, this is how one dresses to go to Carnival. “You guys are REACHING. Nothing about her wearing Bantu knots is ‘cultural appropriation‘ maybe she just happens to love the style… ever think of that? African Americans wear all sorts of hair from Asians to Hispanics… INCLUDING blonde hair. Is it fair to say the same about you all?” one person pointed out. Another person said, “Stop getting offended over everything. And if you’re that kind of person, then get off her social media. Period.“
- Many of the people who seemed to have a problem were American. Most Brits and even those of Caribbean and African backgrounds were largely supportive of Adele’s look and thought she looked great. Most of those who seemed to have an issue were American, and many of them were white. An argument broke out in the comments section between those calling out a white person getting offended on Black people’s behalf rather than listening to Black people themselves and how they feel about it.
- Was Adele’s look really cultural appropriation? That’s not for me to decide. As a white person, it’s not for me to tell anyone of any race what they find to be offensive or otherwise. The way to be a better ally is to listen and think critically rather than talking as loud as you can about what you think is right. Neither Adele nor her reps have commented on the backlash.