Singer, actress, beauty guru and philanthropist Rihanna has ruffled the feathers of a few fans. After posting a topless image of herself in purple satin Savage X Fenty shorts and a long Ganesh necklace, she is being accused of cultural appropriation.
Ganesha, also known as Ganesh, is a Hindu god that represents new beginnings. When the superstar stepped out topless with the elephant-headed pendant around her neck, fans spoke out and accused her of disrespecting the god, and their religion.
It’s appalling to see how @Rihanna shamefully mocks our beloved Hindu God #Ganesha. This exposes how #Rihanna has no idea or respect for Indian culture, tradition and our issues here. Hopefully, at least now @RahulGandhi and other Congress leaders will stop taking help from her https://t.co/7zUpnO05GL
— Ram Kadam – राम कदम (@ramkadam) February 16, 2021
We are so tired & if we raise voice against this cultural appropriation so we are labelled as hindu extremist. For you all hinduphobics it is just necklace but for us he’s god. Please stop telling us wht is offensive & whts not. Audacity of these ppl “hinduphobia doesn’t exist”
— vedu (@IndicRant) February 16, 2021
“You’re wearing a deity necklace and a Murthi of my culture that’s already been culturally appropriated enough,” one commenter wrote on Instagram. “How is this OK when a person has more than enough resources to at least find out the meaning and significance of the chains and the pendant around their neck?”
Rihanna is not new to cultural appropriation accusations, specifically in the Asian community. Back in 2012 she angered fans when she wore a Chinoiserie-style dress and makeup in the Coldplay’s “Princess of China” video back in 2012. More recently the star apologized for using the song “Doom” by Coucou Chloe in her Savage X Fenty fashion show. The song samples Islamic text that is considered sacred. Rihanna responded by saying it was an “honest, yet careless mistake”.
Rihanna usually takes responsibility for her lapse in judgement. I’m sure she will issue an apology for her post, but will that be enough? The Black community is always very vocal against cultural appropriation. Still, we’ve learned there is a very fine line between appropriation and appreciation. What do you think? Was Rihanna wrong for wearing the Ganesha necklace, or was she showing love and support to the Hindu community?