Adele addresses cultural appropriation backlash and admits: ‘I didn’t read the room’

Adele has responded to the backlash she got when she posted a photo on her Instagram and sparked a cultural appropriation row.

The singer shared a photo of her wearing a Jamaican flag bikini and her hair styled in Bantu knots, saying she 'totally' understands why she received backlash from it.

The 33 year old posted the picture on what should have been the weekend of the Notting Hill carnival in London, which didn't go ahead due to coronavirus for the first time in more that 50 years.

More than a year on, Adele reflected and said that she "didn't read the f***ing room".

Adele did her first interview in more than five years as she spoke to Vogue, starring on the cover of both the US and British edition.

The singing sensation addressed why she didn't delete the photo and said: "I could see comments being like, 'the nerve to not take it down,' which I totally get. But if I take it down, it's me acting like it never happened.

"And it did. I totally get why people felt like it was appropriating. I had thought, if you don't go dressed to celebrate the Jamaican culture – and in so many ways we're so entwined in that part of London – then it's a little bit like, 'What you coming for, then?'

"I didn't read the f***ing room. I was wearing a hairstyle that is actually to protect Afro hair. Ruined mine, obviously."

When she uploaded the snap last year, Adele wrote: "Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London."

Not long after sharing the picture, many people said they thought it was cultural appropriation.

One said: "Unfollowing tonight. Please note that I'm from London. While it may appear cute to some, to show this type of appreciation, it's not.

"Many Black and Latina ladies have been denied/fired from jobs and young children sent home from school with hairstyles like this. This has happened in the UK, the US and other countries abroad. I'm not a fan."

However, Naomi Campbell, whose mother was born in Jamaica, supported the post by commenting two love hearts and two Jamaican flag emojis underneath the Instagram post.

Singer Alexandra Burke also defended Adele, saying: "I see the pic. She looks hot. She's obviously been working on her body, that for me is a big deal. She's looking good."

She added: "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.

"All I'm saying is the girl looked good, leave her. Allow her, man. If Popcaan 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."

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