Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 October 2020

Adele wearing Bantu knots, cultural appropriation or appreciation?

The British singer was celebrating a distanced Notting Hill Carnival

Adele at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. FilmMagic
Adele at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. FilmMagic

"Happy what-would-be-Notting-Hill-Carnival my beloved London," Adele wrote on Instagram, sharing a photo of herself celebrating, wearing tie dye trousers, a Jamaican flag bikini top and a gold chain, her hair styled in Bantu knots.

Notting Hill Carnival typically takes place in West London on the last weekend of August each year, however due to the coronavirus pandemic the event has been held virtually this year. The event celebrates Caribbean culture and interracial tolerance.

Adele captioned the photo of herself: 'Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London'. Instagram / Adele
Adele captioned the photo of herself: 'Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London'. Instagram / Adele

However, the Hello singer has been accused of cultural appropriation by some and labelled "problematic". Most of the negative comments are levelled at her Bantu knots, a traditional hair style in black and African culture.

One person commented that "black women are discriminated against for wearing cultural hairstyles like Bantu knots and locs but white people are not, that’s not fair".

"Dear white people, please just be yourselves and stop it for good with cultural appropriation," wrote another fan. A third added: "This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic. Hate to see it."

Journalist Ernest Owens wrote on Twitter: "If 2020 couldn't get anymore bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for."

However many defended Adele

Bestselling British Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams, who is of Jamaican heritage, stepped in to defend the pop star:

And in the Instagram comments, some fans also spoke up for Adele. "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 one fan.

A second added: "Some of you have never been to Notting Hill Carnival and it really shows. I'm half Jamaican and I'm here for this look."

The sentiment was echoed, when a third fan commented: "We Jamaicans don’t have a problem with this. I think it’s a beautiful way to represent our culture. Don’t make this a race thing ... If you understood London and Notting Hill Carnival you would understand this".

Many people pointed out that the Notting Hill Carnival is all about celebrating West Indies heritage, and that Adele grew up in Tottenham, which is home to a large Jamaican community.

Updated: August 31, 2020 12:36 PM

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