This week finds pop icon Rihanna in another controversy over cultural appropriation after she posted a topless photo of herself wearing a pendant that appears to depict Ganesha, a Hindu god. The Tweet was a promotion for her lingerie line, Savage X Fenty.
Many Twitter users have criticized Rihanna, echoing a familiar sentiment: “Our religion is not your aesthetic.”
Fans of Rihanna expressed disappointment, trying to reconcile their appreciation of her with their frustration with a lack of respect for their religion.
This post is not the first time Rihanna has found herself in hot water for cultural appropriation. Late last year, Rihanna drew criticism for a Savage X Fenty fashion show in which the lingerie models danced to a song that included a sacred recitation of Islam’s hadith.
She later apologized through an Instagram story, writing, “I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of this song in our project was completely irresponsible!”
This post is also not the first time Savage X Fenty has utilized elements of Hindu religion and practices for promotion purposes. A Valentine’s Day-themed photoshoot of model Jhardan Reign X in front of a Hindu temple recently appeared on Savage X Fenty’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, according to Sangeetha Kowsik from DissDash.
The photos have since been removed from both Savage X Fenty’s accounts as well as Jhardan Reign X’s personal accounts. She later issued an apology on Twitter, claiming in the comments that the photoshoot was her own personal project and unaffiliated with Savage X Fenty.
Other Twitter users have also expressed frustrations about this string of incidents of cultural appropriation.
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both taken from Rihanna’s Twitter