Adele has broken her silence amid accusations of cultural appropriation after she posted a photo of herself with her hair in Bantu knots — a traditional African hairstyle.
On Sunday (Aug 31), the Grammy-winning singer shared a photo of her wearing a Jamaican bikini top and her hair styled in Bantu knots on Instagram as a tribute to London’s Notting Hill Carnival, which was supposed to take place over the weekend, but was moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Notting Hill Carnival, seen as a symbol of interracial tolerance, dates back to the 1960s and celebrates Britain's Afro-Caribbean community.
During the webcast series Verzuz, — a virtual DJ battle show created by producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz — on Monday, Adele, 32, took to the comments to pen: "Wah Gwaan! Yow gyal, yuh look good enuh", in a likely nod to the Caribbean dialect following the scandal.
The picture of Adele’s Bantu knots — taken in the garden of her US$9.5 million (S$13 mil) Beverly Hills home — provoked the ire of some netizens who slammed her choice as “cultural appropriation” and “insensitive”.
American journalist Ernest Owens tweeted, “If 2020 couldn’t get any more 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.”
If 2020 couldn't get anymore bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) August 30, 2020
This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic.
Hate to see it. pic.twitter.com/N9CqPqh7GX
But there are folks — like Naomi Campbell and Zoe Saldana — who thought Adele's critics over-reacted. Campbell, whose mother was born in Jamaica, commented on Adele’s Instagram photo with two love heart emojis and two pictures of the Jamaican flag.
British Member of Parliament David Lammy weighed in on the controversy on Twitter: “This humbug totally misses the spirit of Notting Hill Carnival and the tradition of ‘dress up’ or ‘masquerade.’ Adele was born and raised in Tottenham. She gets it more than most. Thank you Adele. Forget the Haters.”
Poppycock! This humbug totally misses the spirit of Notting Hill Carnival and the tradition of “ dress up” or “ masquerade” Adele was born and raised in Tottenham she gets it more than most. Thank you Adele. Forget the Haters. https://t.co/sabpPPRtID— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) August 31, 2020
Adele was born in Tottenham, one of the largest Jamaican diasporas in the UK. When she was nine, she moved to Brighton with her mother.
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos