Singer Rihanna uploaded a topless photo of herself on Instagram this week to promote her Savage x Fenty lingerie line and it garnered up to 9.9 million likes, unsurprisingly.
Unfortunately, not everyone approved of the photo, especially those in the Hindu community who called out the Pose singer for cultural and religious appropriation. Rihanna appeared to be wearing a pendant necklace that features the Hindu god Ganesha in the photo, according to a report by Buzzfeed on February 19.
Based on Britannica, Ganesha is an elephant-headed Hindu god’ known as the ‘remover of obstacles.’ “Why is Rihanna’s company doing a lingerie photoshoot outside a Hindu temple and she’s wearing a Ganesh pendant as [an] accessory?” a netizen tweeted after the photo went viral.
why is Rihanna’s company doing a lingerie photoshoot outside a Hindu temple & she’s wearing a Ganesh pendant as accessory?! and why isn’t anyone talking about it?? y’all really pick & choose when to care
— bonti (@shrabonbon) February 17, 2021
Another netizen then asked, “How hard is it to respect and not appropriate Hinduism for your own personal gain?”, posting a photo of what appears to be a Savage X Fenty model posing in front of a Hindu temple.
First Cardi B, now Rihanna. How hard is it to respect and not appropriate Hinduism for your own personal gain?
This also comes less than a week after this Fenty model posted half-naked photos in front of a Hindu temple… pic.twitter.com/rFZjZ9cFh1
— Pro Viber ⚡️ (@not_talkingrap) February 16, 2021
One netizen shared that it is now 2021 and by now we should all understand that religion is not an aesthetic.
“I don’t know who needed to hear this but no it’s not okay for Rihanna to use the Hindu religion as an aesthetic even if it’s Rihanna,” another added.
I dont know who needed to hear this but no it's not okay for Rihanna to use the hindu religion as an aesthetic even if it's Rihanna.❤
— Satan (@yashveen_xyz) February 16, 2021
This person called the topless photo “super offensive”:
Dear Rihanna, plz stop this nonsense. Super offensive wearing Ganesha like that. Our first god, a holy sentiment to millions of people celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi every year. Sorry Ri, u disappointed me &others u u have crossed d limits.
Yes it suit Farmer of @IncIndia.
— 💯FB❤️कमल सिंह चिब राजपूत❤️🚩 (@KamalSinghnamo) February 16, 2021
Others said the 32-year-old performer was being “extremely disrespectful to the religion” and should not be defended:
y’all can’t keep defending Rihanna! She’s being extremely disrespectful to the religion Hinduism and to Hindus! I’m sorry that you all have to see your religion blatantly disrespected in that way! All love from me💗
— Brit⁷ (@xbrisabritx) February 16, 2021
“You can love Rihanna and still call her out btw,” this fan wrote.
Hindu God necklace for aesthetic?
You can love Rihanna and still call her out btw. https://t.co/yBeIIK6LtP
— Lucifer D Uchiha (@DaRealDilshan) February 15, 2021
Another fan tweeted, “Rihanna’s appropriation of the Hindu God Ganesha is something I never thought I’d see.”
Rihanna’s appropriation of the Hindu God Ganesha is something I never thought I’d see… 🥺
— Rhea ✨ (@rhea_silver) February 16, 2021
“Do better, that’s all we ask,” another commented.
I don’t even consider myself religious at all but I am so tired of Hindu culture being appropriated like this in such a disrespectful manner. No one is out here putting crosses for their lingerie posts, at least try and respect other cultures Rihanna. Do better, that’s all we ask pic.twitter.com/BLDSqRSVkT
— Niharika Kollipara (@niharika_215) February 17, 2021
It is not the first time that the singer had been called out for offending a religious community. Last year, the singer apologised to the Muslim community for using a song that sampled religious Islamic scripture in her Savage X Fenty October 2020 show.
Rihanna has not commented on the recent backlash yet.
Send in your scoop to firstname.lastname@example.org