Beyoncé has received criticism for her role in Coldplay's new music video for 'Hymn For the Weekend', the second single from the band's new album A Head Full of Dreams, with some questioning as to whether her appearance constitutes cultural appropriation.
The video, directed by Ben Mor, sees the artist dressed in traditional Desi adornment while playing the role of a Bollywood actress, as Coldplay's frontman Chris Martin attends a local cinema to watch her latest production.
Cultural appropriation, particularly of Desi traditions, has become an increasingly frequent topic of conversation of late; several artists in the past have been accused of such, including Iggy Azalea for her video 'Bounce' and Selena Gomez for 'Come and Get It'.
The video's mixed reception on social media has sparked an intense conversation on the constitutional difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation; with some labelling Beyoncé's guise as the former due to her performative use of cultural elements as a kind of costume. Others have questioned how the role of power structures plays into the definition.
Just gonna throw this out there, if Beyoncé&Coldplay are PROFITING from a culture that isn't there's and gaining praise, it's appropriation— cazafortuna (@caramelputa) January 29, 2016
Cultural appropriation is about power structures just as with racism. How is Beyoncé, a black woman, offensively appropriating?— nygma (@Seauxmali) January 29, 2016
In Coldplay's video, Beyoncé was wearing the traditional clothing with other women in the actual culture. How is that wrong?— Karisa. (@Karisanewkirk) January 29, 2016
If it had been a Desi artist, she'd have been invited to invest and appreciate our culture.— Keith (@holmeslaufeyson) January 29, 2016
Beyoncé did nothing wrong...y'all really gotta learn the difference between appreciation and appropriation— Oliver Queen (@Cyyyyyddddd_) January 29, 2016
Is Beyonce gorgeous in the vid? Yes. Is it cultural appropriation? Yeah. It could've been done without the exotica and mysticism. #HFTW— David (@Dreams_on_Paper) January 29, 2016
The video does also briefly feature Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor, with some critics questioning as to why Kapoor could not have been enlisted for Beyoncé's role instead.
why didn't they choose another desi woman instead of beyoncé— imad (@NORTHAFRICANS) January 29, 2016
Elswhere, the video looks to positively capture celebrational aspects of the city's culture, specifically India's Holi festival. Otherwise known as 'The Festival of Colours', it involves playfully chasing and splashing fellow particpants in colourful dry powders and water, as part of a celebration of love and the forgiveness of others. However, some pointed out the video's depiction of the festival is stereotypical in itself, specifically in its overuse in depictions of the country.
i dont even know what to say about this coldplay video except can white rock bands please stop filming holi videos in india, thank you.— ahmed ali akbar (@radbrowndads) January 29, 2016
it's crazy how literally all the india music videos hit all the same beats. holi paint, bollywood, poverty, spirituality. come onnnnnnnnn— ahmed ali akbar (@radbrowndads) January 29, 2016