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Adele Addresses Cultural Appropriation Backlash

Recently, Adele has made history, becoming the first person to simultaneously appear on the cover of both US and British Vogue. However, this is not how the media is currently perceiving the successful singer/songwriter.

Kristopher Harris/Wikimedia Commons

Recently, Adele has made history, becoming the first person to simultaneously appear on the cover of both US and British Vogue. However, this is not how the media is currently perceiving the successful singer/songwriter.

In her interview with Vogue, a myriad of personal topics from weight loss, body image, and divorce came to light, and with them so did a conversation about facing difficult topics head-on. 

Adele talked to Vogue specifically about an Instagram post she had made celebrating Notting Hill Carnival in August last year, which received significant amounts of backlash, namely for cultural appropriation as the picture in question depicts the singer’s hair styled in Bantu knots while she wore a Jamaican flag bikini. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEh6gF5AwXh/?utm_source=ig_embed

The post garnered a variety of responses, yet the most blatantly offended individuals made their opinions clear in the picture’s comment section. 

“This hair is totally unnecessary,” one person wrote. “Stop appropriating Black culture. Bantu knots are not for you.”

“I’m a Jamaican and I DO NOT appreciate this,” another wrote. “Like, okay bikini top and carnival feathers, regalia, yes. The hair went too far for me.”

Despite this, instead of apologising and deleting this ‘mistake’ from her previously clean track record, Adele did not take the post down. This confusing move, or lack thereof, from the singer’s side understandably confused some people, yet in the Vogue interview, it seems that this has been cleared up.

“I could see comments being like, ‘The nerve to not take it down,’ which I totally get,” she told British Vogue. “But if I take it down, it’s me acting like it never happened. And it did. I totally get why people felt like it was appropriating.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUu8MoRtmC5/

Further on in the interview, Adele commented on how her body has been commodified throughout her entire career, so much so that her weight loss had gone ‘viral’ and subsequently received further backlash and getting accused for being a ‘sellout’.

“I understand why it’s a shock. I understand why some women especially were hurt. Visually I represented a lot of women. But I’m still the same person. The most brutal conversations were being had by other women about my body. I was very f*cking disappointed with that. That hurt my feelings.”

Adele shared that her weight loss was actually catalysed by her attempts to calm her anxiety through exercise. “I needed to get addicted to something to get my mind right,” she continued. “It could have been knitting, but it wasn’t. People are shocked because I didn’t share my ‘journey.’ They’re used to people documenting everything on Instagram, and most people in my position would get a big deal with a diet brand. I couldn’t give a flying f*ck.”

Read more: In a Pandemic: Productivity Influencers Reign Supreme

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