Beyoncé accused of cultural appropriation following merchandise release

Beyonce has been accused of cultural appropriation with her latest collection [Photo: shop.Beyonce.com]

It’s very rare that Beyoncé gets things wrong. From her pregnancy announcements to her daughter Blue Ivy’s beauty range, Queen Bey, usually gets her promotional material spot on.

But her latest collection has caused a bit of upset.

Last week, Bey released her new spring merch collection, which features images of herself dressed as Queen Nefertiti of ancient Egypt.

The striking pictures of the superstar in a jewelled crown appear on a variety of T-shirts, hoodies and crop tops.

But some people aren’t happy about it, taking to Twitter to express their discontent with some even calling the superstar out for cultural appropriation.

The problem, it seems, is that not everyone believes Beyonce should profit from Nefertiti.

Of course, some fans immediately leapt to Beyonce’s defence, claiming the singer wasn’t guilty of culture appropriation but in fact culture appreciation.

This isn’t the first time Beyonce has channeled another culture. Her 2017 Grammys performance featured her dressed as Oshun, the Yoruba deity.

Beyoncé isn’t the only person to use Egyptian history as inspiration either.

Rihanna appeared on the cover of Vogue Arabia ‘paying homage to Nefertiti’ last year too, and also came in for a certain amount of criticism.

Beyonce at the 2017 Grammy’s [Photo: Getty]
Rihanna also ‘paid homage’ to Queen Nefertiti [Photos: Greg Kadel/ Vogue Arabia]

The topic of cultural appropriation has been making headlines of late. Earlier this year Kim Kardashian caused upset after revealing her newly braided and beaded hair, citing Bo Derek as her inspiration. 

But, although many were quick to compliment Kim on her latest look, the “Bo Derek” claim of the braids faced backlash with some Twitter users saying she was ‘trolling black women’ and that she ‘did not get [her] inspiration from white women’.

Kim’s sisters Kylie and Kendall were also accused of cultural appropriation last year with the release of their ‘Chinese takeout’ handbag. 

It seems brands are also not immune from causing controversy when it comes to the thorny topic of culture appropriation either.

Earlier this year Zara caused controversy after selling a check mini skirt that looks a lot like a traditional skirt called a lungi, worn mainly by men in South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, and some Arab countries.

The only difference is that Zara’s version costs £69.99, while you can get an authentic lungi for under £3.

And back in 2016, Urban Outfitters’ Coachella-ready merch, which includes feathered headdresses and hair clips, medicine bags and rain sticks, was accused of inappropriately co-opting Native-American culture.

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