Rihanna Photo Sparks Backlash In India

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Rihanna is facing accusations of cultural appropriation and religious insensitivity after she posted a topless image of herself wearing a pendant depicting the Hindu god Ganesha.

The photo, which appeared on her Twitter and Instagram accounts Tuesday, shows the singer in a pair of lavender satin boxers by her lingerie label, Savage X Fenty.

Among her matching purple jewels are a bracelet, a large pair of earrings and what appears to be a diamond-studded carving of the elephant-headed deity — a move branded “disrespectful” by some Hindus and other social media users in India.

“You’re wearing a deity necklace and a Murthi (image of a deity) of my culture that’s already been culturally appropriated enough in the past few years,” read one reply to the post, liked over 5,000 times on Instagram

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. “How is this okay when a person has more than enough resources to at least find out the meaning and significance of the chains and pendant around their neck?”

“Can we stop sexualizing people’s religion for clout,” read another comment.

“I just don’t understand the purpose of having a necklace with lord Ganesh as part of a lingerie campaign.”

Another user, meanwhile, wrote: “Our culture is not your costume.”

Not all of the comments expressed outraged, with one user stating: “I’m fine with you wearing this as long as you respect Hinduism.”

Others complimented the star’s style without referencing the controversial pendant.

On Rihanna’s Twitter account, the image has amassed over 40,000 retweets.

Savage X Fenty also posted the photo to Instagram, where it has accrued over 345,000 likes, alongside the caption, “Stay up off my Instagram, pure temptation.”

Savage X Fenty did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment about the Ganesha pendant.

The boxers worn in the post are currently listed as “sold out” on the brand’s website.

Ganesha traditionally represents wisdom and success, and is often called upon by Hindus embarking on new business ventures.

Producing paintings or statues of deities is widely practiced in India, and they are used to help worshippers connect with the gods.

The controversy comes just two weeks after Rihanna divided opinions in India by expressing her support for farmers protesting new agriculture laws in the country.

The singer sparked a wave of celebrity statements on the issue after she tweeted a link to a CNN story examining how internet access around New Delhi was cut off following violent clashes between police and farmers.

“Why aren’t we talking about this?!” she wrote.

The move drew the ire of India’s government, which issued a statement condemning “sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others.”

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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