Yesterday afternoon, Adele got major heat from the social media world after posting a picture of herself in a Jamaican flag bikini and bantu knots captioning it, “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London 🇬🇧🇯🇲.”
The 32 year-old singer was giving an homage to last year’s Notting Hill Carnival in London with a throwback post. The Notting Hill carnival has been a staple street festival in London since 1966, becoming the largest in all of Europe. It is a celebration of Caribbean culture and traditions as it fills the streets of London each year. In 2019, Adele was in attendance, showing off her new body in a tiny bikini and feathers. If only it were that simple, but, like all of 2020, it was not. Her bikini featured the Jamaican flag, and her blonde hair was twirled in tight bantu knots, a traditional African hairstyle.
People are frustrated at what seems to be, another white celebrity using Black culture for fun. This is hardly the first time this has happened in 2020. In March, the culture appropriation queen herself, Kim Kardashian West wore braids to a Yeezy show, after several claims of blackface in her previous work. So why can these celebrities not seem to see the problem before making such loud fashion calls?
Fans and concerned people alike, took to twitter to voice their frustration with the look. This has resulted in the #adeleisoverparty hashtag trending.
If 2020 couldn't get anymore 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. pic.twitter.com/N9CqPqh7GX
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) August 30, 2020
Adele dropped that weight and said it’s time for her cultural appropriation era.
— Johnny Boy 🧚🏾♂️✨ (@JohnTheeFame) August 30, 2020
Some even claimed that this was not the first time Adele has appropriated Black culture bringing up her career as a vocalist.
If we’re being honest, Adele has always been guilty of cultural appropriation. She made her millions through her image of the big “soulful” singer.
— First of her Name 🇿🇼 (@Ruariam) August 30, 2020
Many people over Twitter and Instagram are rightfully upset about this non-apologetic post that still has not been addressed by the ‘Rolling In The Deep’ singer. People are tired of seeing White celebrity after White celebrity, take Black culture as their own.
Appropriation vs Appreciation
But there also seems to be another side: her fans praising her outfit that see it more as appreciation over appropriation. Some people in the comments were excited to see her celebrating Caribbean culture during the festival’s 53rd celebration. Many felt empowered that she partook in bringing the traditions to life.
Listen up y'all! That Adele pic ain't cultural appropriation, it's cultural appreciation! The Notting Hill Carnival is a celebration of cultural diversity that encourages community cohesion. Do your own research if you don't believe me. What happened to y'all being kinder?
— Tiela Leo 🏳️🌈 (@TielaLeo) August 30, 2020
Anyone who has ever been to carnival will know that this is how nearly every woman there dresses. Carnival is about celebrating a culture.This pic of #Adele is nothing more than that.Stop trying to cancel everyone when all they are doing is cultural appreciation not appropriation pic.twitter.com/PE8RMQWGB6
— Mr C (@theswampzombie) August 31, 2020
The comment section under Adele’s post has become a controversial comment battleground between those who support her questionable choice and those who condemn her. Even celebrities are becoming involved. Big names like Chelsea Handler and Zoe Saldana have commented on her post with affirming statements such as “Oh, yeah, baby” and “you look right at home guurrrl.” In fact, the majority of her comments are fairly uplifting toward her, with many Jamaican fans leaving the Jamaican flag emoji, smiley faces and hearts.
The backlash seems to be more prominent on Twitter, some even turning the post into memes.
adele said: pic.twitter.com/TKRfsCALAH
— c (@chuuzus) August 30, 2020
Other Twitter users would rather take this time to discuss how we can do better in the future rather than create hate in the current events ensuing. This seems to be the message of many people on both platforms: education over cancelation. The argument questions who should hold who accountable and what is deemed unforgivable, or in this case, “cancelable.”
It’s not my place to judge whether Adele’s Bantu knots are cultural appropriation or not. I’ll defer to African American activists on this issue. All I want to say is that instead of cancel culture we need to have more conversations and chances to improve and learn in good faith.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 30, 2020
The topic of cancel culture is another conversation to be had when it comes to powerful celebrities like Adele, who we know will be well-off despite any changes in her career caused by this mishap.
Cracking jokes about Adele isn’t “cancel culture” mainly bc it doesn’t exist. Adele’s career will be fine. She’s very wealthy, talented & smart enough to do the work to educate herself if she wants to. It’s not the job of marginalized people to beg folks to respect their culture
— Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) August 31, 2020
We will wait to see if Adele speaks on the controversy caused by her post, and if she chooses to leave the picture on Instagram. This is not the first time a beloved celebrity has sparked chaos because of a controversial, culturally appropriative fashion choice, and she won’t be the last. With the resources to educated themselves, it remains a mystery why these missteps continue to occur.