Rihanna accused of cultural appropriation over ‘disrespectful’ topless photo

Rihanna is facing accusations of cultural appropriation after posting a photograph on Instagram dressed in a pair of silk shorts and wearing a necklace depicting the Hindu god Ganesha .

On Tuesday, the singer and fashion designer captioned the photo promoting her lingerie brand Savage x Fenty:

"when @popcaanmusic said 'me nuh wan ya wear no lingerie tonight fa me girl' @savagexfenty".

Some fans took the comments section to praise Rihanna's look:"The boxers come with the body?" wrote actress Issa Rae.

But others were quick to call Rihanna out for her pendant featuring the Hindu god, as some social media users accused Rihanna of being “disrespectful” and “offensive”.

"Stop using my religion as an aesthetic !! that ganesh figurine at the end of the chain :( is a holy and sacred figure for us hindus," one person commented on the photo.

"...for someone who doesn’t understand the religious sentiments of wearing a ganesha necklace, @rihanna wearing it is cultural appropriation!" another person wrote.

Cultural appropriation has been at the center of many debates in recent years, with discussions over what “counts” as ‘borrowing’ from other cultures versus dominant groups appropriating minority culture – like wearing a Native American headdress as a costume, for example.

While some argue the concept has been misapplied in certain cases by the general public, many others believe using cultural or religious symbols as an ‘aesthetic’ statement is harmful and reductionist.

“Rihanna, wearing an Indian deity is not a fashion, it’s not a trend,” added another. “It’s about respecting Indian communities.”

This is not the first time Rihanna has faced accusations of this kind.

Late last year, Rihanna was criticised for using an Islamic hadith in her Savage x Fenty fashion show.

In 2019, the singer was pictured on the cover for Harper’s Bazaar China in a vibrant blue gown that featured pleated, billowing sleeves and a bright red sash tied at her waist.

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