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Adele Criticised For ‘Cultural Appropriation’ After Wearing Bantu Knots And Jamaican Bikini

by : Julia Banim on :
Adele Criticised For 'Cultural Appropriation' After Wearing Jamaican Bikiniadele/Instagram

Adele has been accused of cultural appropriation after sharing a photograph of herself wearing Bantu knots, a traditional African hairstyle, to mark the annual Notting Hill Carnival.

The 32-year-old Hello singer could also be seen wearing a Jamaican flag bikini.

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The Notting Hill Carnival takes place every year during the August bank holiday weekend. One of the largest street festivals of the planet, the carnival is a vibrant celebration of Caribbean culture, bringing together the medium of music, dance and food.

As per the Notting Hill Carnival website, Trinidadian human rights activist Claudia Jones is widely credited with ‘sowing the seeds’ for the carnival, having broadcast an indoor ‘Caribbean festival’ via the BBC back in 1959.

The very first Notting Hill Carnival took place in 1966, organised by activist Rhaune Laslett. Laslett had wanted the carnival to be symbolic of interracial tolerance, bringing people from different communities together during a period of post-war racial tensions.

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This year, the celebrations have had to be virtual, due to restrictions imposed on mass gatherings in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, plenty of people have still shown support for the ethos of the carnival online.

As has been the case for many years, many people have put time into putting together elaborate costumes, often decorated with feathers and sequins. It would appear that Adele was also attempting to show support with her own costume, however she has ended up leaving fans divided.

Notting Hill CarnivalPA

Taking to Instagram, Adele wrote:

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Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London.

Many fans expressed discomfort with Adele’s outfit, arguing that it is never okay for a white woman to wear Bantu knots under any circumstances. Some have accused her of not understanding the history of Bantu knots, wearing the hairstyle in a disrespectful manner.

Writer Ozzy Etomi tweeted:

Cultural appropriation does not mean ‘people not of a culture participating in that culture’.

It means ‘people not of a culture taking aspects of a culture and using it not as is used within its cultural context and/or offending people of that culture’.

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American drag performer The Vixen wrote:

Non-Black people need to stop wearing historically black hairstyles for fun. Simply out of respect for the fact that we still to this day are mocked-shamed-targeted and killed for wearing those styles.

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However, others have been more forgiving of Adele, arguing that she had been showing appreciation rather than appropriation.

Labour MP David Lammy wrote:

Poppycock! This humbug totally misses the spirit of Notting Hill Carnival and the tradition of ‘dress up’ or ‘masquerade’ Adele was born and raised in Tottenham she gets it more than most. Thank you Adele. Forget the Haters.

Meanwhile, various high-profile celebs appear to have liked the pic, including supermodel Naomi Campbell, who commented on the post with a pair of black heart emojis and a Jamaican flag emoji.

At the time of writing, Adele has not publicly addressed the controversy surrounding the photograph, which is still up on her Instagram page.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Music, Adele, cultural appropriation, Now

Credits

Adele/Instagram and 2 others
  1. Adele/Instagram

    @adele

  2. Naturally Curly

    The History of Bantu Knots

  3. Notting Hill Carnival

    The beginning of London's Carnival