Adele is being accused of cultural appropriation for wearing Bantu knots — a traditional African hairstyle — in her hair. The Grammy-winner, 32, stirred up controversy after she shared a photo of herself sporting the hairstyle, along with a Jamaican flag bikini top, in honor of London’s annual Notting Hill Carnival. Now, some critics believe that Adele went onto mock those who accused her of cultural appropriation in a recent comment on social media.
Why? — During Brandy and Monica‘s August 31 “verzuz” battle on Instagram Live, Adele apparently shared this comment: “Wah Gwaan! Yow gyal, yuh look good enuh.” The Jamaican slang term [Wah Gwaan] is typically used as a greeting, and means something along the lines of “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?” The latter half of the apparent comment is roughly translated: “Your girl, you look good, you know.”
President Barack Obama previously used the term “Wah Gwaan” during a speech in April of 2015.
It’s unclear if Adele truly wrote the comment, due to the possibility of doctored screen grabs by internet users. Not to mention, the singer has not addressed the viral comment or accusations of cultural appropriation.
Adele initially came under fire after she shared a photo (seen above) acknowledging the carnival in London. “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London,” Adele wrote in the caption of her Instagram post. Carnival in Notting Hill is the second largest carnival in the world. The annual event usually takes place around this time in the streets of west London, but has since gone entirely virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the backlash, David Lammy — the Member of Parliament for the London Borough of Tottenham, where Adele was born — defended the singer on Twitter, calling the backlash “Poppycock!”
“This humbug totally misses the spirit of Notting Hill Carnival and the tradition of ‘dress up’ or ‘masquerade,'” Lammy wrote above an article about Adele being accused of cultural appropriation on August 31.
“Adele was born and raised in Tottenham, she gets it more than most. Thank you Adele. Forget the haters,” Lammy added. Tottenham is a multicultural neighborhood in North London, which has a lot of West Indian immigrants, as well as people who are of Caribbean descendant.