Coldplay and Beyoncé have officially dropped the video for “Hymn for the Weekend” and while the video is full of beautiful colors, it’s leaving many fans with a sour taste in their mouths.
In the video shot in Mumbai, India, the band members, including front man Chris Martin, are celebrating a Holi festival with Indian children and Beyoncé appears in head coverings, henna, and what looks to be traditional Indian garb.
The attire worn by Bey has drawn harsh criticism from fans. The questions is, if this had been done by acts like Iggy Azalea (which it was, for her “Bounce” video), MGK, Taylor Swift (who experienced severe backlash over her African colonialism fantasy “Wildest Dream“—and rightly so) or any other artist, would there would be boycotts and a firestorm of shaming tweets, posts and appearances on why the behavior is unacceptable?
you guys gonna let this slide cos it's Bey? or can we talk about how she's disrespecting my culture pic.twitter.com/FCwcDDdH3D
— hana ✨ (@veIveteendream) January 29, 2016
The question asked is a valid one. Many supporters, however, are dismissing the video attire as being a “costume” or implying Bey “had no choice” in wearing the attire because it’s a music video. But is that true? Beyoncé is a woman in control and has the ability to interject ideas and creative direction on most video sets she’s part of (let’s not forget that she and the Martins are very close friends). The notion she just did what she was told is arguably an asinine excuse. Almost like honestly admitting, “we see it” but then dismissively asking, “but what could we do”?
Others have suggested we not blame Beyoncé, but instead blame Coldplay for using Black women to portray exotic love interests in multiple videos. The same thing happened with Rihanna in their collaborative song “Princess of China” (she had on Japanese attire). While a valid argument, it takes the onus off the women (Bey and Ri Ri, in this case), who are both strong enough to speak out. This almost implies they are weak women who have no voice, which is again not true.
Cultural appropriation is more than just wearing a costume. Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture.
By definition, yes, Bey and Coldplay are completely guilty of appropriating Indian culture in the video. More importantly, if the people of that culture say they’re offended, they have that right. Beyoncé isn’t the first Black artist guilty of this: there was Nicki Minaj and her Harajuku Barbie phase, Pharrell and many others who through their music have slid under the shame radar of culture appropriation because of their popularity and, perhaps, being African-American.
This is about social awareness and until we learn how to respect one another, there can never be real change.
Cultural appropriation is deeper than ppl just wearing our cultural attire. It's about consumerism, profit and basically stealing
— hana ✨ (@veIveteendream) January 14, 2016
Check out the images and video below: