Breaking her silence. Adele responded to cultural appropriation accusations over wearing Bantu knots in an Instagram post, and she still isn’t taking accountability. The “Rolling in the Deep” singer came under fire on Sunday, August 30, when she posted an Instagram photo of her in Bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini top while celebrating London’s annual Notting Hill Carnival. “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London 🇬🇧🇯🇲,” she captioned the post.
After the photo, the Grammy winner faced backlash from critics who claimed that the culturally appropriated the hairstyle. The Notting Hill Carnival, which has been held since 1966, is led by members of the British West Indian community and is considered a significant event in Black British culture. Given that this year’s festival is virtual, it’s believed that Adele photo is a throwback picture. Still, throwback or not, Adele’s followers were not happy with the photo.
“Giiiiirl you about to cancelled for cultural appropriation,” one commenter wrote. Another wrote, “ADELE DELETE UR GONNA GET DRAGGEDDD.” One more commented, “ADELE THIS IS A NAH. I REPEAT THIS IS A NAH!!! Take it down and go to your room and think about what you did.”
Other commenters explained how they appreciated Adele’s celebration of Jamaican culture, but disapproved of her wearing Bantu knots. “Appreciate the love of Jamaican culture but the Bantu knots kind of don’t sit right,” one user wrote.
There were also some commenters who disagreed that Adele’s photo was cultural appropriation. “As a woman of Caribbean descent myself (Trinidad) I think she looks great,” one user commented. “Too many people in the comments demonstrating that they still can’t differentiate between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation.” Another wrote, “I’m a Jamaican 🇯🇲 and I approved, we love you Adele big up yuh self. You are welcome to party with us when the Pandemic is over 🇯🇲.”
So what was Adele’s response? Well, according to HollywoodLife, Adele mocked her critics in a comment on Brandy and Monica’s “verzuz” battle on Instagram Live on Monday, August 31, where she wrote: “Wah Gwaan! Yow gyal, yuh look good enuh.” Many users believed Adele’s comment was a reference to the Jamiacan slang term, “Wah gwaan,” which is used as a greeting. Users also interpreted the other part of her comment as “Your girl, you look good, you know.”
Backlash over Adele’s Instagram photo comes two months after she demanded justice for George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by a police officer on May 25. “George Floyd’s murder has sent shockwaves around the world, there are countless others that haven’t. Protests and marches are happening all over the globe simultaneously and only gaining momentum,” Adele wrote in an Instagram post in June.
She continued, “So be righteously angered but be focused! Keep listening, keep asking and keep learning! It’s important we don’t get disheartened, hijacked or manipulated right now. This is about systematic racism, this is about police violence and it’s about inequality. And this isn’t only about America! Racism is alive and well everywhere. I wholeheartedly stand in solidarity with the fight for freedom, liberation and justice ♥️ #blacklivesmatter #georgefloyd #saytheirnames.”