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Rihanna Accused Of Cultural Appropriation After Posting Picture Wearing Religious Pendant

Julia Banim

| Last updated 

Rihanna Accused Of Cultural Appropriation After Posting Picture Wearing Religious Pendantbadgalriri/Instagram/PA Images

Rihanna has been accused of cultural appropriation after posting a picture of herself wearing a religious pendant.

The 32-year-old actor and businesswoman shared a topless pic via Twitter and Instagram in which she could be seen wearing a pendant depicting the Hindu god Ganesha.


The photograph in question, taken at night, shows Rihanna wearing silky purple shorts and large statement earrings while standing in front of a pool, covering her breasts with her arm. The caption reads, ‘when @PopcaanMusic said “me nuh wan ya wear no lingerie tonight fa me girl” @SavageXFenty’.

The picture has sparked controversy among fans, many of whom feel using the pendant as an apparant fashion statement was a disrespectful thing to do.

One person tweeted:


Rihanna !! Stop using my religion as an aesthetic !! That ganesh figurine at the end of the chain is a holy and sacred figure for us hindus.

Another wrote:

Super offensive wearing Ganesha like that. My first god, a holy sentiment to millions of people celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi every year. Sorry RiRi, you disappointed me and others.

Rihanna has yet to respond to this criticism, and the photograph is still up on her social media accounts.

RihannaPA Images

This isn’t the first time Rihanna has faced accusations of cultural appropriation. In 2019, she came under fire following a fashion photo shoot for Harper’s Bazaar China, a shoot described at the time as ‘Western style icon meets Eastern aesthetic’.

Photographs within the divisive issue showed the Diamonds singer wearing various different looks that referenced to Chinese culture. This included a manicure complete with lotus flowers and dragonflies, and props such as Chinese hand fans, a hand-painted screen and even a shih tzu dog.

One Instagram user at the time wrote:


I am Asian and I find it offensive. I know Rhiana and the creators of this photo doesn’t give a sh*t about my opinion, which only proves that the disrespect they have to our culture. If you wanted to create an Asian look why didn’t you invite Asian artists [sic]?

Ganesha – also referred to as Lord Ganesh, Ganapati, Vinayaka and Pillaiyar – is a revered, elephant-headed deity within Hinduism.


Ganesha is believed to be the son of Lord Siva and the Goddess Parvati.

Regarded as the Remover of Obstacles, those within the Hindu faith may pray to him when starting a new enterprise or business. He is also understood to be the patron god of travelling.

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Topics: Celebrity, cultural appropriation, Now, rihanna


Rihanna/Twitter and 1 other
  1. Rihanna/Twitter


  2. BBC News

    Ganesh Chaturthi

Julia Banim
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