Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, better known as Cardi B, has been on top of the world in 2020. But this week, the news about the WAP rapper comes in a different form: she’s being blasted for cultural appropriation. After Almánzar appeared to appropriate Hindu culture in a new sneaker ad, social media dragged her. Now, the 28-year-old has issued an apology.
The Ad That Caused the Uproar
Almánzar was recently excited to announce the launch of a collaboration with Reebok. The shoe line was focused on women and children, and was planned to drop this Friday.
In a promotional ad to run on the cover of Footwear News, Almánzar was photographed holding one of her signature red sneakers while posing with eight arms behind her. The image clearly represented the well-known likeness of Hindu Goddess Durga, who is often depicted with eight arms. Social media immediately began dragging both the rapper and Footwear News.
People reports the reactions on social media; “Several people on social media called the cover disrespectful and accused Cardi of ‘mocking’ their culture. ‘Cardi B did not pay ‘homage’ to the Hindu goddess Durga by holding a shoe in her hand, this is plain disrespect and in no way cultural appreciation,’ one Twitter user wrote, according to Indian Express. ‘She can’t get away with this without addressing and apologizing for mocking our culture.’
Another added, ‘Apparently this is Cardi B paying ‘homage’ to the Hindu goddess Durga…This is straight-up racist.'”
Footwear News and Cardi B Apologize
E! shares Almánzar’s apology; “Cardi B posted on her Instagram Story on Tuesday night to clarify her intentions. She said, ‘When I did the Reebok shoot, the creatives were telling me, ‘You gonna represent a goddess, that she represents strength, femininity and liberation.’ And that’s something that I love and I’m all about.’
The ‘WAP’ singer went on, ‘And I thought that it was dope, but if people think I’m offending their culture or their religion I want to say I’m sorry. That was not my intent. I do not like disrespecting nobody’s religion. I wouldn’t like people to offend my religion.’
Cardi admitted she should have done more research on the concept, adding, ‘I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful… I can’t change the past, but I’m going to do more research for the future.'”
Footwear News issued an apology as well; “Yesterday we posted content from our exclusive Cardi B cover shoot. One of the images was intended to pay homage to Hindu goddess Durga, and our intent was to show a powerful woman.”
The statement continued, “However, we realize we were not considerate of certain cultural and religious perspectives and how this could be perceived as deeply offensive… We take full accountability for this oversight and we apologize.”
A New Approach
With the first cover going over like a lead balloon, Footwear News opted to run a new cover, this time with Almánzar posing in all black. But this isn’t Cardi B’s only fresh start. A week ago, the WAP rapper announced that she was calling off her divorce with husband Offset. The pair has had a rocky romance, but now they’re trying again. Hopefully with the Footwear News misstep behind them, they can focus on moving forward.