Pop star Justin Bieber debuted a new hairstyle on social media: dreadlocks. And it didn’t take long before news outlets noticed and reported on the tsunami of social media users accusing the pop star of “cultural appropriation.”
Late Monday, Page Six published a story, titled, “Unfortunately, Justin Bieber’s controversial dreadlocks are back.” By midday Tuesday, Yahoo!, The Guardian, Fox News, The Independent, CNN and other outlets the same — proof that the drip of blowback over Bieber’s dreadlocks had turned into a full-fledged flood of social media outrage.
“Justin Bieber under fire for cultural appropriation as he debuts dreadlocks on Instagram,” reported The Independent.
“Justin Bieber accused of cultural appropriation over hairstyle,” reported The Guardian.
Yahoo! published a story, titled, “‘This is so wrong’: Justin Bieber called out for cultural appropriation after posting dreadlocks photo.”
Bieber posted several photos of himself on Instagram sporting dreadlocks. In one photo, the singer can be seen standing in a black and pink checkered sweatshirt, red shorts, and knee-high white socks.
“I absolutely adore you! But it is REALLY REALLY important you understand why dreads is not something you should be doing as a Cis white man with incredible privilege,” one fan wrote in the comment section.
The pop star has been on the receiving end of a flood of negative press of late. Last month, Bieber was slammed for using audio clips of speeches from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his new album, Justice. Social media users accused him of being “tone deaf.”
King’s family, however, gave Bieber a message of support in the midst of the social media-fueled backlash. The daughter of the civil rights activist, Bernice King, took to Twitter to thank the pop star.
But Bieber is just the latest celebrity to be accused of cultural appropriation.
In February, music superstar Rihanna faced “cultural appropriation” backlash after posing topless with a pendant depicting the Hindu god Ganesha in a photo.
That same month, Kendall Jenner fell under scrutiny for launching her own tequila brand, 818 Tequila — a move that social media users deemed cultural appropriation.
Last summer, model and fashion mogul Kylie Jenner was accused of being a “culture stealing colonizer” for making a cameo appearance in a leopard print outfit for Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” music video.