Every year, it seems at least one celebrity finds themselves on the wrong side of the cultural appropriation debate. We have seen Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry and others accused of culturally appropriating other cultures, that is borrowing aspects of cultures that are not theirs without giving respect to the origin of the style choice.

 

This year, the spotlight has landed on Beyoncé, more specifically her appearance in Coldplay’s “Hymn for The Weekend” music video. The video was set and filmed in India. The scenes are fairly normal settings for India, but the problem with the video is that Indians are the backdrop, the props to Western celebrities. Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor appears in the music video, but only for a couple of seconds. However, most of the backlash seems directed at Beyoncé, featured in the video apparently dressed as an Indian queen.

 

 

Beyoncé is the being called out for allegedly appropriating and stereotyping Indian culture. While there have been Indian voices reminding us that aspects of African-American culture, such as breakdancing, are popular among young boys in India, others are not so accommodating. Part of what is considered problematic to some is that Beyoncé plays a character that is from a different culture than her own. Particular mention has been made of the henna tattoos on Beyoncé’s hands in the music video.

 

One Twitter user was quick to point out that Beyoncé cannot be accused of cultural appropriation because Africans wear henna tattoos traditionally.

 

 

Similarly, some African ethnic groups wear head pieces, ostentatiously embroidered garments, bangles and kohl, too — accessories that are often associated with Asia.

 

 

At the same time, it is important to remember that not all African people traditionally wear these accessories.

 

We’re willing to bet that whoever dressed Beyoncé probably did not have African cultures in mind, though.

 

Do you think Beyoncé’s appearance in Coldplay’s music video is cultural appropriation? Comment here, or find me on Twitter @rafeeeeta