Pop star Adele was caught in the middle of a social media storm on Sunday after posting a picture of herself on Instagram wearing Bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini top.
“Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London,” Adele captioned the image.
Social media users quickly flocked to Adele’s Instagram page to accuse her of cultural appropriation for the hairstyle and top, while others had some fun at her expense by mixing some of her biggest hits with dancehall and reggae bits.
For context, the English singer-songwriter posted the photo to celebrate the Notting Hill Carnival, the second largest carnival in the world which usually takes place in West London, cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual weekend-long festival was founded by activist Rhaune Lassett in 1966 to celebrate the British Caribbean immigrant community, and to bring together diverse cultures in the community in general.
“If 2020 couldn’t get anymore bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for,” journalist Ernest Owens wrote on Twitter. “This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic. Hate to see it.”
“Carribeans need to come to America/Canada to see how they really tread us over here before saying that we’re only tripping over a hairstyle!! They wouldn’t even hire us or yet alone look at us if we came in with our hair looking like that, that’s the problem ... they hate all of us but will put up a front on vacay tho,” wrotre Instagram user @la.pickyvegan.
Another social media user wrote, “Black women are discriminated against for wearing cultural hairstyles like Bantu knots and locs but white people are not, that’s not fair and that’s why people are pissed off.”
However, several users didn’t see an issue with the photo.
“Some of you need to learn the difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. We honestly have bigger fish to fry as a community,” wrote user @emma_xxo.
Instagram user @latpall wrote, Beautiful!!! As a Jamaican I support this look. I love that you were out celebrating our culture. There is a difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, and attending a Caribbean celebration in this look hair included is cultural appreciation and we welcome it.