Rihanna Receives Backlash for Culturally Appropriating Hindu God

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday February 19, 2021

Rihanna took a hit this week from fans responding to her tweet and Instagram post that shows the topless star sporting a pendant of the Hindu deity Ganesha with the caption "when @popcaanmusic said 'me nuh wan ya wear no lingerie tonight fa me girl'

According to Britannica, Ganesha is the elephant-headed God of beginnings and the patron of "intellectuals, bankers, scribes, and authors." Perhaps Rihanna wore the medallion for good luck since her Fenty collaboration with Louis Vuitton was recently put on hold.

Whatever the reason, many were infuriated with the fashion gesture, turning to social media to voice their opinions:

It isn't the first time Rihanna has faced criticism for cultural appropriation. Last year, Dazed reported Rihanna's use of the song "Doom" for her Savage x Fenty fashion show, which included a hadith sampling, a sacred saying from the prophet Muhammad.

Rihanna apologized for that misstep, posting to Instagram, "I would... like to apologize to you for this honest, yet careless mistake. We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim sisters and brothers, and I'm incredibly disheartened by this!... I do not play with any kind of disrespect toward God or any religion and therefore the use of this song in our project was completely irresponsible!"

The paparazzi recently caught Rihanna on the streets of New York City in distressed denim, questioning whether she could spark a revival of the 90s fashion statement. With 91.6 million Instagram followers and nearly 200 million Twitter followers, plenty of people are keeping an eye on the multi-faceted entrepreneur and trend setter's next move.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.