Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner are even getting dragged into the conversation, as both the ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ stars have been accused of cultural appropriation before.
Rihanna is the latest celebrity who falls victim to cultural appropriation accusation. The Barbadian singer recently graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar China, and while she looked as stunning as usual, people started calling her out over cultural appropriation. However, not a few people defended her and pointed out that Rih didn’t appropriate Chinese culture. Thus, a fierce online debate had begun.
In her photo shoot for the magazine, the “Work” singer was wearing various kinds of high-fashion twist to the traditional Chinese garb. Her makeup and hairdo were also done in the traditional Chinese style. In one photo, Rih opted for a vibrant blue, deep sweetheart neck gown with billowing sleeves. The dress also featured a bright red dash with a glittering silver tassel. Her hair was up in an elaborate updo with fans strategically placed along the coif.
Seeing her cover, people started accusing her of cultural appropriation and argued that she shouldn’t get a pass. Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner were even getting dragged into the conversation, as both of them faced backlash over cultural appropriation before. For your information, Kim was heavily criticized for naming her body wear line Kimono, as it didn’t look like the Japanese’s traditional outfit in the slightest bit. Meanwhile, her model sister was blasted for sporting an afro-like hairstyle for her Vogue cover.
“Why is Kim not allowed to call her brand Kimono cos it’s cultural appropriation yet Rihanna can do s**t like this?? Just doesn’t sit right with me,” one said as another wrote, “Wait a minute when Kendal Jenner was on the cover of a magazine with an ‘afro’ people were screaming cultural appropriation but when Rihanna dresses up like this, nobody says anything, it’s art, it’s glam. f**k the double standards.”
Someone else similarly said, “I know we all love her, but why isn’t this cultural appropriation? Or is it and nobody cares bc it’s rihanna? Or is it just ‘fashion’?” There was also one who said, “So no one is going to talk about Rihanna’s ‘cultural appropriation’ just bc yall love her huh? Shows how much selective and fake woke yall are. You don’t care about cultures, you just want to tear down successful people.”
However, many have also come to her defense and stressed that what Rih did wasn’t cultural appropriation. Pointing out that the team behind her shoot were all Chinese, one said, “Rihanna did it for Hapers Bazaar China. She gave credit to the Chinese team who worked with her. They have Rihanna permission therefore it’s not cultural appropriation.”
Someone else echoed, “It’s not cultural appropriation because the entire team behind Harper’s Bazaar China is Chinese and it’s specificated in their Instagram post. THEY, Chinese people, dressed Rihanna like that.” One other wrote, “LMAO culture appropriation when she was ASKED to cover their own magazine and styled by people of that very same culture. Learn ya facts before posting.”
Rihanna has yet to respond to the controversy.