Are they culture vultures?

Justin Bieber is never too far from the spotlight.

The top selling R&B artiste has solidly established himself as one of the best artistes of this generation and just recently it was revealed that he would be a part of DJ Khaled’s latest effort ‘Khaled Khaled’.

In recent times, he has been in the news for another reason. This time he is being accused of cultural appropriation, after he styled his hair into locks, a look that is more so associated with Jamaican people and others of African origins.

However, he is not the only person that has faced this sort of backlash for Jamaican cultural appropriation. Let’s take a look a few instances where this has come forward.

Adele

In August of 2020, British singer and songwriter Adele faced some backlash after she sported a Jamaican themed bikini and a bantu knots hairstyle. A number of persons slammed her as a culture vulture but a number of Jamaicans rose to her backing indicating that they saw nothing wrong.

Joss Stone

When British singer Joss Stone was crowned Billboard Reggae Artist of the Year in 2015, it left some persons feeling that she had encroached on a genre that wasn’t hers. Her album ‘Water for the Soul’ was however produced by Junior Gong, son of the legendary Bob Marley. Nevertheless, that did little to stem the feelings of some who saw her as serial genre hopper, going from rock, to punk, to reggae, seeking success wherever it may be.

Snoop Dogg

When hip hop star Snoop Dogg arrived in Jamaica in 2013, calling himself Snoop Lion, there was a lot of skepticism about the move. The resulting music was a twelfth studio album entitled ‘Reincarnation’. However that transformation was seemingly short-lived, as he was back to his Dogg self a little while after.

Justin Bieber 

In 2016 he portrayed the first iteration of the dreadlocked hairstyle that did not go down well in most circles. It’s now a surprise that he would take the same route and the backlash has again been fierce. He has also been criticised for doing reggae infused songs and not giving credit where credit is due.

Drake

Hip hop star Drake has been feeling the heat of cultural appropriation, as it relates to the dancehall culture. Drake, seemingly a big fan of the genre, has enlisted a number of dancehall acts to work with, including OVO signee Popcaan. However he has been called out by several persons, including Sean Paul and Mavado, for using the genre when it suits him without giving credit.

There are other ways that Jamaicans have been left feeling a bit peeved, as their culture has been used in a way that does not credit them. British chef Jamie Oliver’s Jerk Rice is one such way.

However, there have been questions as to whether or not it is cultural appropriation, or is it that persons just love the culture. The verdict is still out on this.