Adele received mixed reactions on social media after sharing a photo of herself celebrating Afro-Caribbean cultures wearing Bantu knots, a Jamaican flag bikini top, and feather wings during Notting Hill Carnival. “Happy, what would be Notting Hill Carnival, my beloved London,” she captioned the image.
Since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival takes place every August on the streets of the Notting Hill area of Kensington and intents to bring together different cultures to promote diversity. For the first time, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year‘s celebration was held virtually.
The London native grew up experiencing this annual event, but she crossed the line of cultural appreciation to cultural appropriation for some people. “Culture appropriation to the fullest,” wrote one person, followed by another one who enlisted three reasons why this wasn’t a good idea. “Nope. 1) The Bantu knots are a protective, African American hairstyle. 2) You do not have any reason to use such hairstyle. 3) Completely inappropriate,” reads the comment.
Despite some negative comments, the vast majority praised the singer for her tribute and dragged those accusing her of misappropriation. “As a Jamaican from the U.K., I really hope she doesn’t take this down. I’m so sick of Americans projecting their problems onto the rest of the world. They need to stop!” wrote one of Adele’s followers. “As an African Bantu - woman, I think any woman or man who wants to rock Bantu Knots should rock them. It doesn’t matter if you are white or blue. African Americans do not own African culture. They need to chill! We are all human,” expressed another fan supporting the “Someone Like You” interpreter.
A fan went even further and explained the reasons why there is nothing wrong with the 32-year-old wearing the so-called controversial look. “Dear African Americans. Please stop speaking on behalf of Jamaicans/West Indians. Most of you all think Jamaica makes up the whole of the Caribbean. Most of you all think Caribbean people live in huts and tend to goats and sheep all day. (yes I’ve been told this),” the person revealed. “It is normal for tourists and foreigners to dress like this during carnival time in the Caribbean, and we love it. They get to celebrate with us. So stop screaming cultural appropriation; there is nothing wrong with her attire. I love it, and we embrace people like this!”
More women of color backed up the Grammy winner fans’ comments and approved the songstress wardrobe and hairstyle choice, including Dominican descent actress Zoe Saldana who wrote: “You look right at home guurrrl.” Supermodel Naomi Campbell also left some love to the star by dropping two heart-shaped emojis and the Jamaican flag.
Looking back, this is not the first time the mom of one shows appreciation and respect to African cultures and African descent people. Recently, Adele shared a photo of herself on Instagram, posing in front of her tv proudly showing a scene of Beyoncé’s Black is King film, a visual album that celebrates black history and African traditions.
The English singer and songwriter thanked Bey for the magnificent album. “Thank you Queen for always making us all feel so loved through your art,” she captioned the image.
As of this writing Adele has not responded to the cultural appropriation claims.