Rihanna In Fresh Indian Backlash Over Topless Photo
Rihanna has found herself embroiled anew in controversy after she posted a topless image of herself wearing a pendant depicting the Hindu god Ganesha.
The singer and fashion mogul on Monday shared a topless photo of herself in a pair of lavender satin boxers by her lingerie label, Savage X Fenty on her social media pages. She matched the boxers with purple jewels; a bracelet, a large pair of earrings and what appears to be a diamond-studded carving of the elephant-headed deity.
The image, while admired in some corners, was heavily critised and tagged as “disrespectful” by some Hindus and other social media users in India.
A Twitter user @09S00B wrote: “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”
@IndicRant wrote: “We are so tired & if we raise voice against this cultural appropriation so we are labelled as hindu extremist. For you all hinduphobics it is just necklace but for us he’s god. Please stop telling us wht is offensive & whts not. Audacity of these ppl “hinduphobia doesn’t exist””
A reply on Instagram read: “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. 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.”
Ganesha is the elephant-headed god in Hinduism and he was one of the most worshipped. Hindu tradition states that Ganesha is a god of wisdom, success and good luck and giver of different types of favours. Generally, many Hindus also worship Ganesha before starting any new thing.
The controversy is coming two weeks after the Indian government and celebrities slammed Rihanna for expressing her support for farmers protesting new agriculture laws in the country. Rihanna, who has more than 100 million followers on Twitter, wrote “why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest”, with a link to a news story about a government crackdown that included an internet blackout.
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.”
This is not the first time the singer has been accused of cultural appropriation or disrespecting religious values. Last year in October, Rihanna under fire from the Muslim community who have accused her of disrespecting the values of Islam during her Savage X Fenty fashion show. During the show which premiered on Amazon Prime Video, “Doom” a song which reportedly samples vocals of a Hadith being read in Arabic was played as models dressed in lingerie strutted around.
Rihanna later admitted that the use of the controversial song was an “honest, yet careless” mistake.
In 2013, while on her Diamonds World Tour, she was kicked out of the famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi for the sacred mosque as a backdrop for some photos that she posted to her Instagram. After the staff at the mosque asked Rihanna to leave, they explained that the area she used was typically off-limits to visitors and that her fashion-style shoot didn’t support the “status and sanctity of the mosque.”