Adele’s Bantu knots (China bumps) and Jamaican flag bikini have refocused the debate over cultural appropriation and appreciation. Last night, she posted a divisive “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London” image to Instagram which sent Twitter into meltdown.
The Carnival, which went online this year due to the coronavirus, is a vital celebration of Black British life. “For more than 50 years carnival has been a statement that Black Lives Matter,” explains executive director, Matthew Phillip.
So was Adele’s decision to don a traditional African hairstyle an acceptable homage to the origins of the style or another example of white pop stars co-opting Black culture for cultural capital? The internet is divided, particularly in light of the current debate over British colonial history and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The distinction between appreciation and appropriation is complicated, given Black culture enriches just about every part of popular culture in the UK and around the world. Over the last 50 years, the Notting Hill Carnival has promoted unity and inclusion and the message that Black lives matter.
The Mayor of Tottenham tweeted that the criticism of Adele’s outfit “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.”
While the conversation is a complex one, the internet has wasted no time in satirizing the incident. Scroll down for the best reactions.
Adele, we need the Reggae album
From hello to wagwan pic.twitter.com/ZWa8ZuL6hK
— Free man🇷🇼 (@Freeman_rw) August 31, 2020
adele said: pic.twitter.com/TKRfsCALAH
— c (@chuuzus) August 30, 2020