Supermodel Naomi Campbell and singer Alexandra Burke are among those who’ve spoken in defence of singer Adele after her controversial Instagram post yesterday.
The superstar shocked fans by posting a photo of herself as she’d never been seen before: clad in a Jamaican flag bikini top, feathers adorning her shoulders, gold chains around her neck and wrists and with her hair curled into tight ‘Bantu’ knots often worn by women of African descent.
The look was a tribute to London’s iconic Notting Hill Carnival, a massive annual celebration led by members of the British West Indian community, which has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And for once, Adele’s recent weight loss wasn’t the focus of all the attention. Instead, her ‘Jamaican’ look led to countless memes mocking the singer amid accusations of cultural appropriation.
In the wake of the backlash, British singer Alexandra Burke, who won the UK’s X Factor in 2008, said Adele “looks hot”.
“She’s obviously been working on her body, that for me is a big deal. She’s looking good.
“As a Jamaican girl myself, my girl has grown up in black culture. People forget she’s from Tottenham. She probably eats jerk chicken all the time like all of us,” The Sun reports Burke as saying.
“All I’m saying is the girl looked good, leave her. Allow her man. If Popcaan (Jamaican singer, who left a supportive comment under Adele’s picture) is going to endorse it and say yes my girl you’re wearing the flag and you’re wearing it well. Let her live her best life, leave her alone. We love Adele.”
Supermodel Naomi Campbell – whose mother was born in Jamaica – was one of the first to show her support, commenting underneath the photo with love hearts and a Jamaican flag.
Other stars left similarly supportive comments under the photo: “You look right at home guuurl,” wrote Guardians Of The Galaxy star Zoe Saldana.
British rapper Stefflon Don, also of Jamaican descent, posted love-heart emojis under the photo.
“It’s the white folks in here who are upset about (and trying to police) the way the black folks are feeling for me,” wrote drag queen and reality star Detox under the photo.
And David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, the suburb of London where Adele grew up, argued that she was simply dressing in “the spirit” of the Notting Hill Carnival and told the singer to “forget the haters”.
Cultural appropriation or cultural celebration? Offensive or over-reaction? Look, can we all at least agree that the memes have been great: