Rihanna’s latest magazine cover for Harper’s Bazaar China has elicited a fierce debate over whether the star is guilty of cultural appropriation.
The shots of RiRi outfitted in Asian floral patterns, with matching hair and makeup for Harper’s Bazaar China, provoked the social media conversation, with a number of people taking to Twitter.
The mag touted its cover as “[a] western style icon meets [an] eastern aesthetic,” and shared the glam pics on Instagram.
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There is always a brave truthfulness on Rihanna( @badgalriri ). She doesn’t care about judgments from others, justing keep in doing what she loves. After four years, Rihanna is back to be our cover star and again shows when western style icon meets eastern aesthetic. @shasimona @weitian25 Photographed by @chenman Executive Editor-in-chief#左敏洁 Outreach Producer #cezargrief #coolhuntinc #harpersbazaarchina #augustissue #rihanna.
A post shared by Harper’s BAZAAR China (@harpersbazaarcn) on Jul 8, 2019 at 7:40pm PDT
For some media users, that wasn’t enough of an explanation.
“so nodoby gunna call rihanna out for cultural appropriation … hmm I see,” one Twitter user quipped.
Others were quick to defend the star.
“It’s not cultural appropriation because the entire team behind Harper’s Bazaar China is Chinese,” posted one user. “THEY, Chinese people, dressed Rihanna like that.”
y’all Rihanna popped up with this on my tl and people are saying it’s not cultural appropriation cause it was approved by a team of chinese people as if a couple chinese fashion designers looking for $$ and attention have it in their best interest to care about what’s insensitive
This is not cultural appropriation! It’s appreciation. Clearly, Rihanna is paying homage, respect and acknowledging Chinese culture, as styled by Chinese stylists, approved by Chinese editors. Conclusion: Yes, you CAN wear other culture’s clothing. Just be mindful of it!
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It’s not the first time Rihanna has shown love for the Far East look.
At the 2015 Met Gala, themed “China: Through the Looking Glass,” she stunned in a gold gown by Chinese designer Guo Pei.