Everybody Loves the Bindi: The West’s Claims to Indian Culture

American singer Katy Perry, with her latest Instagram post of Goddess Kali, captioned “current mood”, has joined the bandwagon of celebrities who have been called out for “cultural appropriation”.

Just a little over a year ago, Perry’s contemporary Beyoncé came under fire for portraying the role of a Bollywood actress in British rock band Coldplay’s 2016 music video “Hymn for the Weekend”. Likewise, artistes such as Selena Gomez have been derided for wearing the bindi, which is viewed as a sacred Hindu symbol by many.

In the times we live in, one does not have to try too hard to kick up a social media storm. The immediacy of social media allows for quick reactions, often ones that have not been deliberated upon. Here are 5 examples of alleged cultural appropriation, which made the Internet go berserk:

1. When You Feel Like an Indian Goddess but the Internet Won't Worship You

Katy Perry’s recent Instagram post incurred the wrath of many of her followers, who criticized her on multiple levels: some calling her out for cultural appropriation, others labeling the post as offensive and disrespectful to Indian culture.

Also Read: Katy Perry’s Instagram Post Of Goddess Kali Draws Wrath of Indians

2. Not Even Beyonce and Coldplay Can Get Away With Representing India as "Exotic" and "Poor"

Coldplay’s 2016 music video “Hymn for the Weekend” won as much appreciation as it incurred criticism. Critics called out Coldplay for peddling all things Indian as exotic, and reinforcing the Western idea of India as a land of princesses and snake charmers.

Also Read: Stop Screaming “Cultural Appropriation!” Over the Coldplay Video

3. No, our preferred mode of conveyance is not the elephant. We also don't wear shiny gold attire and ornamental headgear in our daily lives.

Australian rapper Iggy Azalea came under fire for her 2014 music video “Bounce”, which featured the artiste in Indian wedding attire. She was also seen gallivanting around the streets of what is presumably an Indian city in an ensemble that shone brighter than the sun, and yes, casually riding an elephant.

4. The West's Love Affair With the Bindi Will Not End With Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez is one of many Western artistes to sport the “bindi” (Photo Courtesy: Kevin Mazur/Wire Image)

Selena Gomez, the American singer-actress is the latest to join the league of celebrities flaunting the bindi, and of course the Internet will not let her hear the end of it. Gwen Stefani, her predecessor, was one of the first to sport the bindi. Now, it has become commonplace for celebrities of Selena’s ilk to wear the Indian accessory in music videos and award functions alike.

Also Read: My Bohemian Dot: A Renaissance for the Bindi

5. That Awkward Moment When Your Regular Indian House Party Resembles Scenes From K3G

The Netflix original series “Fuller House” courted controversy when its eleventh episode, titled “Partnerships in the Night”, depicted Indian house parties as ones that resembled those shown in typical Bollywood films, especially ones from the 90s-early 2000s. For reference, look no further than the 2001 Bollywood drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. This of course, did not go down well with many Indians. The episode featured coordinated dancing and bling aplenty, and also a cow. Yes, you read that right. Oh, and did I mention turbans?

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