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Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation: Rihanna's Disputed Harper's Bazaar China Cover

Monica Otayza
Jul 12, 2019
01:24 A.M.
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Rihanna is currently being accused of cultural appropriation after posing in some of China's traditional dresses for the cover of Harper's Bazaar China.

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Rihanna is the latest celebrity to be slammed for cultural appropriation after she wore a series of Chinese traditional dresses for the cover of the fashion magazine.

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On Cultural Appropriation

The term cultural appropriation has been thrown around the web in the past few years, which means being culturally insensitive. The term, by definition, means the inappropriate adoption and lack of respect towards a country's customs, practices, and traditions. However, people made sure to point out that what Rihanna did was not cultural appropriation at all.

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After all, the team who dressed her was Harper's Bazaar China team, an all-Chinese team. Her looks were modern takes on their classic imperial outfits and were meant to pay respect to the beauty of Chinese culture, in a Chinese magazine, styled and directed by Chinese editors.

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Similar Incidents

People on the internet wondered why no one seemed to be slamming Rihanna of cultural appropriation when they didn't let Kim Kardashian or even Kendall Jenner hear the end of it.

While Kendall Jenner was a model who tried to sell soda while culturally appropriating the Black Lives Matter movement, Kim was trying to make a profit out of the word "Kimono." The Kimono is a traditional Japanese outfit worn in weddings and funerals.

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This did not sit well with people and the mayor of the Japanese city of Kyoto even had to write a formal letter to her just to ask her not to use the word for a lingerie and shapewear line.

After outrage from the internet over her inappropriate use of the word "Kimono," she announced that she would ultimately launch it under a new name.

However, unlike what happened to Kim, it is highly unlikely that Rihanna will feel the need to apologize especially since she was invited, styled, and even mentored by Chinese artists for the shoot.

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