There has been a fair amount of celebrities being called out for cultural appropriation recently. Kim Kardashian was called out for wearing braids that are attributed to black culture on Instagram, but giving white actress Bo Derek credit for the influence of the hairstyle.
Bruno Mars is also under fire after a vlog snippet went viral, where one activist claims that Mars steals black culture. Now, longtime musician and legendary producer Pharrell is being accused of cultural appropriation as well.
Pharrell and Adidas teamed up to create the “Hu Holi” collection, which includes sneakers, shirts, shorts, and hoodies. All of the apparel is influenced by the Indian spring festival that takes place all around South Asia. The festival celebrates love, happiness, change, and spiritual redemption.
One of the events during the Holi festival has participants streak different colors across other festival goers clothes. Paint brushes, balloons filled with paint, chalk, and various other tools are used to create multi-colored clothing. As usual, the internet went to work on the new collection from Pharrell.
Several people pointed out that Pharrell and Adidas taking a festival from India and exploiting it was the exact definition of cultural appropriation. Speaking with the Huffington Post, an Adidas spokesperson stated that, “Hu was founded upon the principles of unity, equality, humanity, and color with an intention to explore humanity and celebrate diversity around the world. Together Adidas Originals and Pharrell Williams use the platform to help tell stories of others from around the globe.” Pharrell ventured to India for his first time, to learn about the festival and promote the upcoming collection.