Adele is being accused of cultural appropriation after sharing a now-viral Instagram photo in a Jamaican bikini top and with her hair in Bantu knots.
The photo has become a source for an overflow of amazing memes, and also a unique lens into the differences within Black cultures, and what is considered appropriative behavior.
For the first time in its 50-year history, West London’s annual celebration of Caribbean and Black culture took place remotely, due to COVID-19. The singer has undergone a noted physical transformation and also wanted to celebrate her body. However, the bikini top and hair knots proved a bit much for people on social media.
But first came the jokes and memes. @ayce24s tweeted, making a play on her hit song “Hello”: “adele said “HELLO PON DI OTHER SIDE.”
@blaccmass posted a hilarious mash-up of Adele’s “Hello” with Wayne Wonder’s all-time dancehall smash, 2003’s “No Letting Go.”
@sheika66287761 tweeted a long-used meme, noting how tightly wound her knots looked:
@superTV247 compared Adele’s knot look with Lisa Simpson.
@AmeriKraut wrote that someone had to have helped her into her appropriation: “alright, so which one of the innit blacks put those bantu knots in adele’s hair because i know she did not pull that off youtube? ya’ll are messsssssyyyyyyyyyyyyy lmaooooooo.”
However, beyond the jokes at her expense, people had a wide range of takes on whether Adele’s outfit and hair were cultural appropriations of African/Caribbean culture.
Piers Morgan quipped on how Adele was turning into a well-noted appropriationist, Katy Perry.
“If 2020 couldn’t get anymore bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for,” wrote @MrErnestOwens. “This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic. Hate to see it.”
However, for many, condemnation of Adele is misplaced and ignorant of English/Caribbean culture. The cultural differences between Black culture in America and Black culture in England and the rest of the world have been at odds.
Replying to Owens’ tweets, @tom_1986 wrote: “British people reading this, we need to break free of this toxic American ideology & stop it dragging us down. Anyone who has spent five minutes at Notting Hill Carnival knows this is completely normal & is embraced.”
“Nah, bro. Read up on the Notting Hill Carnival before you comment on this photo,” @TielaLeo tweeted, on another reply. “In my humble opinion, this is not cultural appropriation. It is cultural appreciation! That festival is a celebration of different cultures.”
@iamdahmmie wrote a short letter to Black America:
“Dear Black Americans, we love the Banta knot and I don’t think Jamaicans are complaining about the bikini,” she tweeted. “Deal with your insecurities and leave Adele tf alone!”
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