Adele Addresses Cultural Appropriation Backlash Over Bikini Snap

Last summer Adele caused a controversy when she posted a photo of herself wearing a Jamaican flag bikini and adorning her hair in African Bantu knots. Many were upset by the photo because it appeared to appropriate Black culture. She’s finally addressing the incident, and here’s what she has to say.

The Photo In Question

During Carnival last year, Adele posted the rather shocking photograph. Commenters said “still cannot believe she really did this… like unironically,” while another said, “if you aren’t Jamaican don’t complain about what she’s doing.” The photo got 5.9 million likes, eclipsing other Adele posts from that time by a very wide margin. Clearly, she touched a nerve for some.

Adele was immediately taken to task for cultural appropriation, a distasteful practice with deep ties in music especially. Others thought she was showing cultural appreciation by attending a Carnival festival in the first place. Until now, Adele’s intentions weren’t super clear. She didn’t seem to be mocking anyone, but it was also not a very smart thing to post.

Finally, She Addresses The Incident

In an interview with British Vogue, Adele addresses the snafu. She deliberately chose to keep the photo posted even amidst the immediate backlash. “I could see comments being like, ‘the nerve to not take it down,’ which I totally get. But if I take it down, it’s me acting like it never happened… and it did.” She validated the criticism, saying “I totally get why people felt like it was appropriating.”

Adele mentions that Jamaican culture is entwined in West London culture, so it would be pretty jarring for folks who aren’t already in the know. However, she still admits “I didn’t read the f**king room.” She also added “I was wearing a hairstyle that is actually to protect Afro hair. Ruined mine, obviously.”

The apology has been lauded because Adele doesn’t try to run from the incident or pretend like it was the right thing to do. She explains why the photo is still up, touches on why she did it, and admits that it was a mistake. In the same interview, she talks about Beyonce at length and clarifies why she felt the “Irresistible” singer deserved to beat her for a Grammy Award.

What’s Next For Her?

Adele is doing publicity in the first place to help promote her new album 30.

This is her first album in five years, and she’s yet to release anything that didn’t become a massive hit. 30 arrives on November 19.


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