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​Adele Addresses ‘Cultural Appropriation’ Backlash From Notting Hill Photo

Jess Hardiman

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​Adele Addresses ‘Cultural Appropriation’ Backlash From Notting Hill Photo

Adele has responded to the backlash from an Instagram post last year, in which she was wearing a Jamaican flag bikini and Bantu knots, saying she 'totally' understands why people were accusing her of cultural appropriation.

Last August, the 33-year-old singer shared an Instagram post to mark what would have been the weekend of Notting Hill's famous carnival, which was cancelled for the first time in more than 50 years due to the pandemic.

In the photo, Adele is wearing a bikini top bearing the Jamaican flag, while her hair has been tied into Bantu knots - prompting some people to criticise her look.

Reflecting on the fallout more than one year on, Adele admitted she 'didn't read the f*****g room'.

Credit: Instagram/@adele
Credit: Instagram/@adele

Speaking to Vogue, she said: "I could see comments being like, 'the nerve to not take it down,' which I totally get. But if I take it down, it's me acting like it never happened.

"And it did. I totally get why people felt like it was appropriating.

"I had thought, if you don't go dressed to celebrate the Jamaican culture - and in so many ways we're so entwined in that part of London - then it's a little bit like, 'What you coming for, then?'

"I didn't read the f*****g room. I was wearing a hairstyle that is actually to protect Afro hair. Ruined mine, obviously."

After posting the photo, many people argued that she was culturally appropriating black culture through her choice of clothing and hairstyle.

Credit: Instagram/@adele
Credit: Instagram/@adele

Journalist Ernest Owens tweeted at the time: "If 2020 couldn't get any more 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."

He added: "I'm too old and Black to be defending and making excuses for white people who still can't read the damn room in 2020."

Many other social media users agreed, with one other person tweeting: "No sis.... we love you but don't appropriate people's culture."

Another said: "Black hairstyles are not for white people to steal during festival season or ever!"

A third added: "Unfollowing tonight. Please note that I'm from London. While it may appear cute to some, to show this type of appreciation, it's not.

"Many Black and Latina ladies have been denied/fired from jobs and young children sent home from school with hairstyles like this. This has happened in the UK, the US and other countries abroad. I'm not a fan."

But not everyone felt Adele deserved the hate, with some fans hitting back in the comments to say she was merely showing 'cultural appreciation'.

Credit: Instagram/@adele
Credit: Instagram/@adele

Naomi Campbell, who is part Jamaican, showed her support by posting two love hearts and two Jamaican flag emojis in the comments underneath the Instagram post.

Jamaican singer, songwriter and DJ Popcaan also added a love heart and a raised black fist.

British singer Alexandra Burke also leapt to Adele's defence on BBC Radio 1Xtra, saying: "I see the pic. She looks hot. She's obviously been working on her body, that for me is a big deal. She's looking good."

She added: "As a Jamaican girl myself, my girl has grown up in black culture. People forget she's from Tottenham. She probably eats jerk chicken all the time like all of us.

"All I'm saying is the girl looked good, leave her. Allow her, man. If Popcaan is going to endorse it and say, 'Yes my girl you're wearing the flag and you're wearing it well,' let her live her best life, leave her alone. We love Adele."

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@adele

Topics: Entertainment, Celebrity, Adele

Jess Hardiman
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