Adele: Appreciation or Appropriation?

By Loren Adams 

English singer, Adele, made the headlines of social media this past week. After attending the Notting Hill Carnival, Adele posted a picture on social media in a Jamaican flag bikini and a African hairstyle captioned “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved.” 

The post created controversy with a lot of mixed reviews from fans and other public figures. Many fans created meme’s, gifs and reggae remixes to her music while others accused her of appropriating Black British culture and Caribbean culture. Ultimately, this sparked a social media debate of whether Adele was appreciating or appropriating another culture. Chante Jay, a writer for the IndpendentUK and Jamaican native shared her opinion about the singer’s post. 

“So, are Adele’s impending traction alopecia Bantu knot a  form of cultural appropriation ?” said Jay. “The short of it is, by definition no. We know Adele isn’t someone who is far removed the culture, using it for exposure or financial gain while erasing its originator’s history – she is participating in a culture that she knows. However, just because Adele isn’t appropriating Black/British culture, it doesn’t make it not offensive. ” 

Many believe that Chante Jay was fair in her review of Adele’s latest post. However, a fellow presenter defended Adele to the fullest in a morning debate on ITV’s This Morning. Presenter Holly Willoughby defended Adele over cultural appropriation accusations.

“Surely you’ve got to look at the intention of the people who are doing it and her intention whilst posting that picture was just to celebrate something that she has been a part of for a very long time, which is Notting Hill Carnival that she’s been to many, many times. Isn’t it about intent?,” said Willoughby.  

Even though many public figures have expressed their opinion about Adele, some of her fans decided to express their thoughts as well. As a part of the black British community and a fan of Adele, @gabbakins had an opinion about the singer’s controversial Instagram post. 

 “When I saw it I thought it was photoshopped, it was a mess,” she said. “ I honestly couldn’t believe out of all people that Adele was one of the ones who did that. I think she tried to go for appreciation but it ended up coming out as appropriation.”

Adele has not removed the photo and she has yet to address the photo or the accusations on cultural appropriation. 

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