It’s been a long week for pop star and designer Rihanna. We had only just learned about her Fenty clothing line shutting down for now "pending better conditions" after less than two years in the business, though her beauty and lingerie lines are still intact. Then, Rihanna took to social media to share a look at some of her Savage X Fenty lingerie line, sharing a topless photo to boot. But neither the topless aspect nor her Savage bottoms were what caused the uproar. Instead, a piece of jewelry led Rihanna to be called out for cultural appropriation.
In the new post, Rihanna is rocking very little except a pair of purple bottoms and some jewelry. It’s the latter that’s causing all the drama, as Rihanna seems to be wearing a large pendant of Ganesha, a Hindu god of beginnings.
There were positive responses to Rihanna’s look, particularly on the Instagram post itself, but some of the people who looked closely saw the jewelry choice and wanted Rihanna to know what they thought about it. One comment with thousands of likes on the post mentions the cultural appropriation aspect and other comments soon followed.
Are we not going to talk about the cultural appropriation?! Wearing a Ganesh necklace whilst naked seems very disrespectful to Hinduism.
While some fans were a little outspoken others simply wanted to explain to her why wearing Ganesha while hawking wares and going topless is not the best nod to Hindu culture.
Others did not give Rihanna quite as much slack and were a bit more blunt about why using Ganesha for this purpose is not the best look. On Instagram, one commenter noted:
You're wearing a deity necklace and a Murthi (image of a deity) of my culture that's already been culturally appropriated enough in the past few years. How is this OK when a person has more than enough resources to at least find out the meaning and significance of the chains and pendant around their neck?
Celebrities are choosing to share their lifestyles as well as support their brands via social media these days. (Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman are the masters at this.) However, Rihanna and many more are under much more scrutiny in some way than they were in the pre-social Internet. It’s probably not what Rihanna was going for when she put together the post, but I suppose at least people are no longer talking about her Fenty line shutting down.