Adele Wearing Bantu Knots Is Not Cultural Appropriation, It’s Cultural Appreciation

By Rogan Smith |
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British pop star Adele wears bantu knots and a Jamaican bikini top

Online trolls are slamming British pop star, Adele for wearing bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini, calling it cultural appropriation.

On Sunday, the singer-songwriter went on Instagram to pay tribute to Notting Hill Carnival, which was canceled due to COVID-19. This year, the event took place virtually.

Online commenters say they are angry because black women are discriminated against for wearing cultural hairstyles like bantu knots and locs, but white people aren’t. They say that’s not fair.

I have two comments about that. Firstly, we as black people, need to stop feeling the need to police people’s fashion choices. No one appointed us the cultural appropriation police. I saw the photo of Adele and the first thing I thought was, she looks cute.

At no time did I think she was appropriating black culture. If anything, she was celebrating the culture. There is a huge difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. This, in my opinion, is the latter.

My second comment is, while it’s not right that black women are criticised for their ethnic hair choices, it’s not every white person on the planet’s fault.

How about we reserve our criticism for the people who don’t appreciate our hair or who discriminate against us? Wouldn’t that make more sense rather than targeting everyone who happens to love our traditional hairstyles?

This may sound like a long shot, but I think a lot of the anger that is being directed towards Adele stems from her recent weight loss.

A lot of her fans – many of whom were full figured – looked to her as an idol of sorts. Many admitted that they felt betrayed when she lost weight. So, this may be where some of this anger is coming from.

Adele has proven time and time again that she is a fan of the culture and has been quite respectful, so I don’t believe she is showing anything other than an appreciation for it.

There were, however, many supporters who praised the pop star for her look.

“I’m from the Caribbean and this is why we have festivals/carnival. For others to appreciate and celebrate our culture. Nothing inappropriate here,” said one online poster.

Most Jamaican posters who saw Adele’s photo were happy to see their flag on the multi-Grammy award winner.

As a woman from The Bahamas, I would have been over the moon to see Adele wearing a Bahamian flag bikini. That’s showing love.

I honestly think we need to reserve our energy for real issues.

Nothing to see here, folks. Nothing to see.


This Bahamian Gyal

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