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Hymn for the Weekend is being criticised for misusing Indian culture

Written by on 30th January 2016

Beyoncé has received criticism for her role in Coldplay’s new music video for ‘Hymn For the Weekend’, the second single from the band’s new album A Head Full of Dreams, with some questioning as to whether her appearance constitutes cultural appropriation.

The video, directed by Ben Mor, sees the artist dressed in traditional Desi adornment while playing the role of a Bollywood actress, as Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin attends a local cinema to watch her latest production.

Cultural appropriation, particularly of Desi traditions, has become an increasingly frequent topic of conversation of late; several artists in the past have been accused of such, including Iggy Azalea for her video ‘Bounce’ and Selena Gomez.

The video’s mixed reception on social media has sparked an intense conversation on the constitutional difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation; with some labelling Beyoncé’s guise as the former due to her performative use of cultural elements as a kind of costume. Others have questioned how the role of power structures plays into the definition.

The video does also briefly feature Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor, with some critics questioning as to why Kapoor could not have been enlisted for Beyoncé’s role instead.

Elswhere, the video looks to positively capture celebrational aspects of the city’s culture, specifically India’s Holi festival.Otherwise known as ‘The Festival of Colours’, it involves playfully chasing and splashing fellow particpants in colourful dry powders and water, as part of a celebration of love and the forgiveness of others. However, some pointed out the video’s depiction of the festival is stereotypical in itself, specifically in its overuse in depictions of the country.

(Source: The Independent)