High-profile black figures including Naomi Campbell and MP David Lammy have defended Adele over claims of cultural appropriation, following backlash for an image she posted on social media.
The Tottenham-born star attracted criticism from some fans after sharing a photo on Instagram showing her in a Jamaican flag bikini top and with her hair in Bantu knots.
The 2020 edition of west London’s traditional celebration of Caribbean and Black culture took place remotely for the first time in its 50-year history due to coronavirus, with Adele was clearly keen to celebrate from her home in LA.
However, it was the 32-year-old star’s decision to wear Bantu knots – a traditional African hairstyle in which the hair is twisted into a series of small coiled buns – that led some to denounce the singer’s choice of costume.
One Twitter user wrote: “If 2020 couldn’t get any more bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for.
“This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic. Hate to see it.”
Another said: “If you haven’t quite understood cultural appropriation, look at @Adele’s last Instagram post. She should go to jail no parole for this.”
Writing in the comments section of the Instagram post, a user said: “Bantu knots are NOT to be worn by white people in any context, period.”
Responding to reports of the social media backlash, Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy wrote on Twitter: “Poppycock! This humbug totally misses the spirit of Notting Hill Carnival and the tradition of ‘dress up’ or ‘masquerade’ Adele was born and raised in Tottenham she gets it more than most. Thank you Adele. Forget the Haters.”
Commenting on the singer’s original post, Supermodel Naomi Campbell, whose mother was born in Jamaica, commented with two love heart emojis and two pictures of the Jamaican flag.
The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke also stuck up for Adele, telling the BBC’s Carnival tribute show: “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.
“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.”
Many of the singer’s celebrity friends also showed their support, with Jamaican musician Popcaan shared a fist emoji and a love heart, and Westworld actress Tessa Thompson commented with a flame emoji.
Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana wrote: “You look right at home guurrrl”, while US comedian Chelsea Handler commented: “Oh, yeah, baby!”
Many fans also had positive words about her choices, with one writing: “To all the ignorant non-Jamaicans dragging Adele for supporting the Jamaican culture, sit down! You don’t speak for us!
“We are proud of Adele! Nuff respeck to her!”
Another said: “How are non-Jamaicans getting mad at Adele when Jamaicans aren’t even mad themselves. This is normal carnival attire. Let Adele sing HELLO PON DI ADA SIDE.”
While a third commented: “I am Jamaican, and I don’t mind this at all. We have bigger things to worry about. The internet is a cesspool of people having too much thoughts.
“Go vote. Register to vote, focus on your mental health. This is a non-issue.”
Adele’s Instagram account has already attracted lots of attention this year, after the birthday image she shared back in May showed a dramatic weight loss of around seven stone.
It came after the multi Grammy and Brit award-winning star filed for divorce from her husband Simon Konecki last September, citing “irreconcilable differences”.
The couple have a son, seven-year-old Angelo.
Sky News has contacted Adele for comment.