In a new photo stirring up controversy, Adele wears Bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini
The novel coronavirus has led to the cancellation of, well, a ton of beloved events and activities in the last seven months or so. One of those? London’s annual Notting Hill Carnival — for the first time in its 54-year history, the street party celebrating Caribbean culture and unity moved online. To honor the event, though, Adele took to social media to share a photo of herself dressed in carnival attire.
“Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London,” she captioned the snapshot, which has since been liked by nearly six million people.
However, the photo wasn’t well-received by all. Many responded to Adele’s look of traditional Bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini by accusing the singer of cultural appropriation.
“If 2020 couldn’t get anymore bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for,” wrote journalist Ernest Owens. “This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic. Hate to see it.”
Others pointed to the significance of Bantu knots in African and Afro-Caribbean culture, while many simply expressed their disappointment in the decision.
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
Absolutely not a fucking soul.
Nary a person.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 30, 2020
Twice this weekend I have seen people do backflips to defend white women in Bantu Knots. If you spent the whole summer posting #blacklivesmatter and don’t see the problem here, you were lying the whole time.
— The Vixen (@TheVixensworld) August 31, 2020
Bantu knots. On her white scalp. pic.twitter.com/ubosdswjfN
— • (@blekdiamonds) August 30, 2020
The point of appropriation is adopting something and using it for something other than in the way its unintended to the culture or offensive to the culture.
Wearing a Sari at your Indian friends traditional Indian wedding ✅
Wearing a sari as a halloween costume ❌
— Ozzy Etomi (@ozzyetomi) August 31, 2020
Lmao @ the Caribbean’s in here saying “it’s for Carnival y’all shouldn’t be offended” when nobody is bothered by her outfit, it’s the Bantu Knots and people have that right. https://t.co/bTu4pgKGav
— Lethal Homo (@LordeCali) August 31, 2020
Those who didn’t pan Adele’s look defended it — or at least gave her a pass for the polarizing choice. British politician David Lammy argued that Adele understands and respects the culture of the carnival. “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,” he tweeted.
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
One Jamaican commenter insisted that Jamaicans don’t feel slighted by Adele’s outfit, noting that they are “the most unbothered people on the planet.”
Another personal perspective came from a South African citizen. “Honestly this is exhausting, I’m a South African from the Zulu Bantu tribe specifically and I didn’t take offence to Adele wearing Bantu Knots,” they tweeted. “It’s not cultural appropriation and I doubt there was any malice intended by doing bantu knots.”
Honestly this is exhausting, I’m a South African from the Zulu Bantu tribe specifically and i didn’t take offence to Adele wearing Bantu Knots , it’s not cultural appropriation and i doubt there was any malice intended by doing bantu knots
— @Jola (@Jola55124499) August 31, 2020
The post also got its fair share of support from Adele’s famous friends. Lisa Rinna observed, “You just broke the internet Henny.” Supermodel Naomi Campbell dropped alternative heart and Jamaican flag emojis. Chelsea Handler gushed, “Oh, yeah, baby!” and Zoe Saldana said, “You look right at home guurrrl.”
Granted, the cultural questionability of Adele’s outfit wasn’t the only reason fans were discussing it. A ton of commenters slid into Adele’s feed to comment on her recent weight loss.