Adele has been accused of cultural appropriation after posting a photo online in which she wore a traditional African hairstyle to mark the start of this year's cancelled Notting Hill Carnival.
The Tottenham-born singer posed for the shot in a Jamaican flag print bikini, with her hair in several small buns known as ‘Bantu knots’ - a style typically associated with people of African descent.
The award-winning superstar posted the photo to her instagram and captioned the post “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London.”
Soon after the photo was posted, some people took to social media to accuse Adele of cultural appropriation.
What is cultural appropriation?
Cultural appropriation is the unacknowledged or inappropriate use of customs, practices and ideas that are associated with a culture to which the user does not belong.
The term is typically only applied to someone who belongs to a more dominant culture in society, than that of the culture they are deemed to be appropriating.
Why was Adele accused of cultural appropriation?
The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event that celebrates black culture, however due to the pandemic, this year’s event was moved online.
To celebrate the start of the virtual festival the singer posed for a snap in a Jamacian themed bikini, while wearing Bantu knots.
After she posted the photo, some Twitter users accused Adele of cultural appropriation due to her use of the hairstyle.
One user on Twitter commented, “If you haven’t quite understood cultural appropriation, look at @Adele’s last Instagram post. She should go to jail no parole for this.”
Another added, “If 2020 couldn’t get anymore bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for. This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic. Hate to see it.”
Meanwhile responding to the singer’s Instagram post in the comments, a user wrote, “Bantu knots are NOT to be worn by white people in any context, period.”
However, many social media users defended Adele’s decision to wear the hairstyle and the bikini, arguing that it is a celebration of different cultures due to the context of the post celebrating what would be the start of the Notting Hill carnival.
Who has defended Adele?
Some of the singer’s celebrity friends made it very clear that they approved of the hairstyle.
One such friend included supermodel Naomi Campbell, who is of Afro-Jamaican descent, replied to the post with two love heart emojis and two pictures of the Jamaican flag.
Additionally, Jamaican musician Popcaan replied with a simple fist emoji and a love heart, while actress Tessa Thompson commented with a flame emoji in support of the singer.
However it wasn't just celebrities that supported Adele’s look, as one Twitter user wrote “how are non-Jamaicans getting mad at Adele when Jamaicans aren’t even mad themselves. This is normal carnival attire.”
While another wrote, “Americans upset about Adele, calling this cultural appropriation is quite hilarious especially when she is not even expressing anything here that is American. She looks great and looks like she is about to have some fun.”