Holly Willoughby defends Adele over accusations of cultural appropriation

Singer caused stir with Notting Hill Carnival celebration photo

Ellie Harrison
Wednesday 02 September 2020 10:56 BST
Adele headlines the Pyramid Stage Glastonbury 2016

Holly Willoughby has voiced her support for Adele, after the singer was accused of cultural appropriation for a photo she posted to celebrate Notting Hill Carnival.

Adele, who is based in the US but was born in Tottenham, London, shared an image of herself on Instagram wearing a Jamaican flag bikini, with her hair in Bantu knots.

She captioned the post: “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London.”

Social media was divided in its opinion of the post, with some calling it “problematic” and a form of “cultural appropriation”, while others said they were not offended by the photo.

During a debate on the issue on ITV’s This Morning, at which no Bame people were present, Willoughby argued: "Surely you've got to look at the intention of people who are doing it and her intention whilst posting that picture was just to celebrate something that she's been part of for a very long time, which is the Notting Hill Carnival that she's been to many, many times. Isn't it about intent?"

Feltz agreed, saying: “Well, my other half [Ben Ofoedu] says she looks absolutely fantastic, imitation is the biggest form of flattery. He’s a Nigerian gentleman by extraction and everything else. He said it’s mostly Americans that criticised her and they don’t realise A) she is a Tottenham girl, B) she loves Notting Hill and C) on the Grenfell fire there was Adele getting on with it, distributing water not drawing attention to herself.”

Matthew Wright had a different view, however, adding: “She clearly has offended a significant number of people… Adele is a very rich white woman at the top of the pop game and arguably might have got richer by appropriating the hairdo.”

Notting Hill Carnival was celebrated as a virtual event this year – due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – for the first time in its 54-year history.

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