'Adele is not your target': Maajid Nawaz's passionate response to cultural appropriation row

1 September 2020, 14:43

By Fiona Jones

This was Maajid Nawaz's moving response after Adele was accused of cultural appropriation.

Adele sparked controversy over the weekend after posting a picture of herself wearing a Jamaican flag bikini and her hair in Bantu knots in tribute to the Notting Hill Carnival.

"What she was trying to do was say I love everything about this culture, I care for you and I'm your friend...I think that's all she was trying to do," Maajid said.

"What kind of world would you want to live in where expressions of solidarity are roundly attacked in that way in the name of anti-racism?"

Maajid said that in South Asian weddings, for example, there is always the "token white family" who dress accordingly.

Adele posted this photo of her wearing Bantu knots in her hair
Adele posted this photo of her wearing Bantu knots in her hair. Picture: Adele

He said, "You know for a fact that they are there for love, for friendship...that's what Adele was doing."

"We've known that it's that token white family in the corner that makes us remember that there are people in this country that loved us."

Maajid called for people to focus on the important racial conversations and social injustices and remember, "Adele is not your target, she is your friend."

"Focus on the substance, not on the shallow, petty point-scoring, and pointing fingers at our allies."

He said this accusation has a terrible racially-prejudiced backlash as it implies Maajid himself cannot wear Western clothes.

He emphasised that people must not push away Adele for showing love and support.