Adele has been accused of cultural appropriation after sharing a photo in which she wore Bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini top, while others have taken to Twitter to defend the singer.
The Tottenham-born artist shared the image on her official Instagram account to mark what would have been the weekend of Notting Hill Carnival, an annual celebration of Black British culture.
“Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London,” Adele captioned the post, before signing off with the British and Jamaican flag emojis.
In the comments section, many of her followers claimed that the star’s choice of hairstyle – which is traditional among people of African descent – was an example of cultural appropriation.
“If you haven’t quite understood cultural appropriation, look at Adele’s last Instagram post. She should go to jail no parole for this,” one Twitter user wrote. Another said that Bantu knots “are NOT to be worn by white people in any context, period”.
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
A third commented: “This is trash. We already got a lot of shit goin on in the world [and] here u are appropriating.”
It has been noted that many of Adele’s critics are from the US.
The singer has since been defended by the likes of Naomi Campbell, Alexandra Burke and Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, with the latter describing the controversy as “poppycock” on Twitter.
“This humbug totally misses the spirit of Notting Hill Carnival and the tradition of ‘dress up’ or ‘masquerade’,” Lammy wrote. “Adele was born and raised in Tottenham she gets it more than most. Thank you Adele. Forget the Haters.”
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
Campbell, whose mother was born in Jamaica, responded to Adele’s photo with a pair of love heart emojis and the Jamaican flag, with Jamaican musician Popcaan also endorsing the post by replying with the fist and love heart emojis.
Burke, meanwhile, told the BBC: “As a Jamaican girl myself, my girl has grown up in black culture. People forget she’s from Tottenham.
“All I’m saying is the girl looked good, leave her. Allow her man. If Popcaan is going to endorse it and say yes my girl you’re wearing the flag and you’re wearing it well. Let her live her best life, leave her alone. We love Adele.”
Elsewhere, one of Adele’s followers explained that some people “don’t know the difference between cultural appropriation vs appreciation and it shows”.
“This isn’t cultural appropriation this is cultural appreciation she’s literally celebrating Caribbean/Jamaican cultural at a carnival google is free y’all she’s being respectful,” another reasoned.
Last month, Adele offered an update on her highly-anticipated fourth album – saying that she has “no idea” when it will be released. Her last record, ‘25’, arrived back in 2015.