We Need To Talk About Adele And Her Cultural Appropriation
- Adele posted a photo of herself wearing Bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini top.
- She instantly became a viral trending topic as a result of the photo.
- But we really need to discuss the cultural appropriation behind it.
Adele has set fire to the rain.
Or, more appropriately, to the timeline.
The “Hello” singer took to her Instagram yesterday to post a photo of herself — which, on its own, wouldn’t have made headline news.
But it made headlines this time around because she was adorned in Bantu knots and a string bikini top made out of the Jamaican flag.
Aside from asking, “what’s the point?” we need to talk about the cultural appropriation behind it.
Adele Is A White Woman
I know that’s stating the blatantly obvious, but it’s worth repeating: Adele is a white woman.
She’s a white, British woman, at that.
As British leaders have a tainted history of cultural appropriation and Manifest Destiny — just ask India, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia to start — there’s no reason to continue this outdated idea in 2020.
Someone forgot to let Adele know because this is what she blessed her Instagram followers with.
Costume choice aside, Adele looks…um…stunned.
But we need to talk about why she chose that particular hairstyle and flag to begin with, especially when she’s not of that culture.
Contrast the British and American Responses
It helps to know that “Bantu knots” originate in Africa — specifically, from the Zulu people, who are considered a “Bantu” ethnic group. The word “Bantu” itself translates to “people” in many different African languages.
Unless I need a major correction in my glasses, Adele doesn’t look African to me.
It’s also interesting to note how Black Americans — who would know a thing or two about being colonized — responded to this cultural appropriation, versus how Black Britons responded.
According to the former, this is nothing but a hot mess.
According to the latter, she’s “celebrating black culture,” because of course, she was, and how dare we suggest otherwise of this delicate British flower.
So let me see if I understand this correctly: it’s perfectly alright for Adele — a very white British woman — to dress up in a flag that’s not hers and a wear a hairstyle that’s not of her culture. But it’s not okay for Meghan Markle — a Black American woman — to take pride in her Blackness, speak out on American politics, or marry a British prince of both of their own free will.
What, exactly, might be the common denominator here?
Could it be that one’s a white woman? The other is a Black woman who lived the American dream, worked her way to the top, and won the heart of a prince.
Check yourself, Adele — and to her British defenders, check yourselves, too.
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