- Adele shocked fans on Sunday when she shared an Instagram post of herself in a Carnival-inspired ensemble.
- The singer wore a Jamaican flag bikini top with feathered wings, and had her hair done in Bantu knots to celebrate what would have been the annual Notting Hill Carnival in London.
Adele debuted a look on Instagram yesterday that quickly had fans talking.
In the photo, the "Rolling in the Deep" singer is wearing a Jamaican flag bikini top, tie-dye leggings, and bright yellow feathered wings. And rather than go with her typically blown-out blonde strands, her hair is done in tightly coiled Bantu knots—a style typically worn by Black and African women to protect their hair from excessive damage. When worn by white women, however, the style tends to be called out as a major case of cultural appropriation.
According to Adele's caption, she was wearing the Caribbean-inspired ensemble to pay homage to the annual Notting Hill Carnival that takes place in her hometown. During the event, Britain's West Indian population takes to the streets of Kensington, celebrating their heritage and island culture. Carnival is also a celebration held across multiple Caribbean islands including Barbados and the Bahamas.
"Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London 🇬🇧🇯🇲," wrote the singer on Instagram.
Minutes thereafter, Twitter imploded with a mixed bag of emotions. Many felt Adele was dipping her toes into the culturally appropriated pool, à la Kim Kardashian West and Miley Cyrus, who have both dealt with controversies over "trying on" very Black hairstyles. Others felt less enraged and just laughed at the perplexing image. An even smaller group felt that Adele was simply "honoring" an inspiring culture that plays a central role within her community.
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
Reading tweets about Adele, it's so strange seeing lots of non-Jamaicans trying to cancel Adele, while I see lots of Jamaicans actually praising her 4 showing appreciation to their culture. Maybe we should let people decide 4 themselves whether they think something is ok or not? pic.twitter.com/BrXA166zoz— 🌴🦎Oliver Heldens 🐨🕺🏻 (@OliverHeldens) August 31, 2020
Anyone who has ever been to carnival will know that this is how nearly every woman there dresses. Carnival is about celebrating a culture.This pic of #Adele is nothing more than that.Stop trying to cancel everyone when all they are doing is cultural appreciation not appropriation pic.twitter.com/PE8RMQWGB6— Mr C (@theswampzombie) August 31, 2020
It is never wrong to share and appreciate culture. Keep going Adele, we love you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/syrZ7ZKXIO— Chimdi (@didistunting) August 31, 2020
Alright, who had Adele’s cultural appropriation on their 2020 Bingo Card? pic.twitter.com/rHGRo0NXi7— DJ Butt Stuff Barbie (@aurexm) August 30, 2020
It appears that Adele didn't mean any harm with her Carnival outfit, but most celebrities who find themselves in hot water over "trying on Blackness" never seem to. Whether it's defined as appreciation or appropriation, one needs to remember that Black, West Indian, and African cultures aren't a trend—they're a rich heritage. And they are much more than just "fun" hairstyles, outfits, or costumes that can be slipped on or off at a non-Black person's convenience.
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