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Adele Called Out For Cultural Appropriation Over Photo Of Her Hair Tied Up Into Bantu Knots

Adele Called Out For Cultural Appropriation Over Photo Of Her Hair Tied Up Into Bantu Knots
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

A recent photo of Grammy winning singer Adele has stirred up controversy over her appropriation of a traditional African hairstyle called Bantu knots while wearing a Jamaican flag bikini top at Notting Hill Carnival last year.

The festival was cancelled this year due to the necessity of social distancing measures and the singer seems to think that the photo was a good tribute to the event. The effort seems to have largely fallen short, however, judging by people's general reaction.

Bantu knots are a protective hairstyle that has been around for over 100 years, according to Naturally Curly.

Protective hairstyles are styles that help prevent damage to Black hair. They also have important cultural significance in the Black community.

Not everyone disapproved of the singer's grooming choices, and several high-profile figures cheered her on in the Instagram comments.


Twitter was on fire over the weekend with criticism for Adele's hairstyle choice, however.

The Vixen, best known for appearing on season 10 of Ru Paul's Drag Race, wasn't having any of it.

While not specific to this incident with Adele, Naturally Curly has already covered the issue of cultural appropriation when it comes to Bantu knots and other Black hairstyles.

"Cultural appropriation is particularly threatening with regard to Black hair because Black women have had to fight for equal representations in several industries and for our beauty to be valued by society."
"Often times when Black women have worn traditionally Black hairstyles it is written off as 'unprofessional' or 'ghetto,' but when White women do it, suddenly it's fashionable or a 'new' trend."

When thinking about choosing a hairstyle or other fashion choice with cultural significance, consider whether you have any connection to the culture that style comes from.

If not, it's probably best to stick to what you know.