Viral song ‘Papadum’ accused of cultural appropriation
Viral song ‘Papadum’ accused of cultural appropriation Image Credit: Twitter

Remember the PPAP (Pen Pineapple Apple Pen) song that went viral in 2016? This time it is a bizarre song about the fried Indian flatbread Papadum or papad that sent netizens in a frenzy over the weekend.

The video of the song titled ‘Papadam’ features an Indian woman and four non-Indians singing and dancing, all while holding papadums in their hands.

The lyrics have the word 'papadum' repeated throughout the entire length of the song.

The video shows people dressed in traditional Indian clothes holding the Indian snack. At one point, one of the men swings a toy cricket bat while reciting the word ‘papadum’.

This cultural representation obviously did not go well with many Indians and South Asians, who took to social media to troll the song. While some found it funny, others said that they want to rescue the woman in the video. Few others were horrified by the cultural appropriation.

Tweep @_ashmip posted: “To be clear, this was not the representation I wanted.”

And, @AnandWrites tweeted: “What is happening…”

The video has nearly 2 million views on Twitter.

However, the song is not new. It was apparently created in 2014 by an Australian musician named Anthony Donald Joseph Field, who is a member of a children’s music group called the Wiggles.

After the backlash on Twitter, Field apologised saying that he did not intend to be culturally insensitive to the Indian community or add to ethnic stereotyping. He said that the song was meant as a celebration.

Some Indians took to Twitter to assure the writer that there was nothing to apologise for. Tweep @wanderer_12 posted: “Mate, this is fun… bit like baby shark song... no need to apologise… Being Indian myself I can’t see anything culturally insensitive here. There are much bigger issues out there for my Indian brothers and sisters to outrage about.”

Some Indians tweeted to Field thanking him for the song, as it introduced them to their culture.

To which tweep @Ashley_Bansal replied: “How is this introducing people to culture? It’s literally just enforcing that stereotypes are okay. How is this an accurate representation of Indian people?”

Another thing that drew the attention of people was the Indian woman in the video, who was not singing along.

Tweep @AneeshRaman commented: “I now have to spend my day trying to figure out why the only South Asian in the video is also the only person not singing along, while also trying to figure out whether I’m being made fun of, or awkwardly embraced. All the while I’m trying to unsee this video.”

The songwriter later clarified that the Indian woman was indeed not comfortable singing the song. He said that in the original video that was meant for children, right at the beginning of the song, the woman brings the papadums and talks about them before the group starts dancing.