Rihanna Accused of Cultural Appropriation Over Harper’s Bazaar China Cover

Pop singer and fashion mogul extraordinaire, Rihanna, has come under fire over her feature on the cover of an upcoming issue of Harper’s Bazaar China. The magazine cover shows the Bajan singer donning traditional Chinese garb. She was accused of cultural appropriation. According to the Chinese publication, the photo is meant to show “when western-style icon meets [sic] eastern aesthetic.”

Photos of Rihanna outfitted in gorgeous Asian floral patterns, with matching makeup and hair caused a battle on social media over whether she is guilty of cultural appropriation. The singer, affectionately known as RiRi, was styled by a team of Chinese stylists who diligently worked to create an authentic look for the singer.

Related Story: Rihanna’s Luxury Fashion Collab With LVMH Dropped Online

Harper’s Bazaar China wrote via its Instagram account about their decision to style her in traditional Chinese looks, “There is always a brave truthfulness on Rihanna…She doesn’t care about judgments from others, justing keep in doing what she loves. After four years, Rihanna is back to be our cover star and again shows when western-style icon meets eastern aesthetic.”

There was a range of comments underneath the post from people who disapproved of the looks.

“This is a total smack in the face to the Asian culture,” one of the top comments reads.

“I am Asian and I find it offensive,” another comment read. “I know [Rihanna] and the creators of this photo doesn’t give a sh*t about my opinion, which only proves that the disrespect they have to our culture.”

Even folks on Twitter sounded off.

Twitter user Cali S. responded: “Wait a minute when Kendal Jenner was on the cover of a magazine with an ‘Afro’ people were screaming cultural appropriation but when Rihanna dresses up like this nobody says anything, it’s art, it’s glam.”

Many people compared Rihanna’s fashion spread to the Kardashian/ Jenner clan’s numerous violations of cultural appropriation.

Although the criticism is understandable, it isn’t warranted. There is a distinction between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. The Cambridge Dictionary defines cultural appropriation as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.”

Rihanna was invited by the Chinese magazine to engage in a mutually-respectful cultural exchange. That exchange created beautiful photos that offer Westerners insight into Chinese history and culture. For example, certain colors signify specific meanings in Chinese culture.

In April 2019, the talented mogul was criticized for cultural appropriation when she launched a new Fenty Beauty highlighter called “Geisha Chic Hunny.” This callout made sense. Fenty Beauty pulled the product immediately.

The most crucial outlier for cultural appropriation is the intent. Harper’s Bazaar China’s recognition of Rihanna as a purveyor of diversity, authenticity and bravery is progressive. Those qualities are indicative of someone who appreciates culture not appropriates it.

Latest News

Xfinity and NBCUniversal Team Up to Bring a Free Virtual Camp Experience to the Living Rooms of Xfinity Customers

Originally posted on Comcast.com Today Comcast’s Xfinity is opening Camp Tonsafun, a free virtual camp hosted by counselors from the NBCUniversal family and beyond featuring activities that are tailor-made for Xfinity customers and families to enjoy at home. According to the American Camp Association, each year more than 14 million…

Latest Research Based on U.S. Payroll Data Reveals Magnitude of the Impact of COVID-19 on the Labor Market

Originally posted on ADP.com ADP Research Institute® Hosts Fourth Annual State of the Labor Market Summit Featuring the Latest Research from Top Economists and Scholars, Rooted in ADP’s Unmatched, Unique Data Insights derived from ADP’s anonymized and aggregated payroll data enabled economists and academia to model the effects of COVID-19…

Syracuse University campus

News Roundup: TV Diversity, Syracuse Hire, and Segregated Training

Check out our news roundup of diversity and inclusion updates and insights from across the U.S.: Syracuse University Creates Athletics Diversity Position  While most colleges and universities around the county are making COVID-19-related cuts in regard to their athletic departments, Syracuse University has hired Salatha T. Willis as the associate athletic…

What Friends Tell Friends: Choose Kaiser Permanente

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org. Integrated, nonprofit health plan tops NICE Satmetrix customer experience benchmark study for 10th straight year. For the 10th year in a row, more people would recommend Kaiser Permanente to a friend or colleague than any other health plan in the nation, according to the recently released…

Cesar Conde

NBCUniversal Sets Ambitious 50% Diversity Goal for Women, People of Color

Cesar Conde, chairman at NBCUniversal News Group, announced a groundbreaking goal to have a 50% diverse workforce at NBCUniversal, according to Deadline. Conde, the first Latino in this role, outlined his plans in an internal video for employees on Wednesday. The ultimate goal is for NBCUniversal, No. 7 on DiversityInc’s 2020…