Beyoncé in the “Hymn for the Weekend” video
YouTube screenshot

A big issue in 2015 was the cultural appropriation of black or African-American culture, whether it was with rap music or cornrows. And there can be a bit of a wrinkle when African Americans are accused of the same thing.

And so it happened with pop star Beyoncé, who is faulted by some for appropriating Indian (not Native American) culture. Yoncé appears in a recent Coldplay video, “Hymn for the Weekend,” dressed in her Bollywood finest, including bindi and henna.

The issue for some is that Beyoncé was making all sorts of twirling hand gestures that apparently don’t really mean anything and have no connection to authentic Indian dance. Additionally, there was a real Bollywood actress, Sonam Kapoor, in the video, but she plays the back significantly.

A few weighed in on social media against the pop star, with one user on Twitter saying that her culture isn’t a “prop” for Coldplay’s music video.


Predictably, more people than not love it, and some even injected a little humor in their critique:


Is Beyoncé out of line for dressing and dancing like an Indian woman? If not, how is this different from white folks wearing cornrows and rapping? Where do we draw the line between appropriation and appreciation?

Watch the video below and judge for yourself: