The post quickly drew mixed commentary online, with many calling out the 32-year-old for what they deemed to be cultural appropriation, especially regarding her hairstyle — Bantu knots are a traditional Black hairstyle with African roots — while others felt it was cultural appreciation in the context of the event.
One of the most prominent critiques to arise from the post came from American journalist Ernest Owens, who took to Twitter to weigh in, writing:
"If 2020 couldn't get any more bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for. This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic. Hate to see it."
Others who felt it was appropriation took specific issue with her choosing to wear her hair in Bantu knots, with one Twitter user writing:
"Black women are ostracized for their natural hair but Adele wearing this is okay???"
Similarly, some felt it wasn't necessary for Adele change her appearance to show appreciation for Carribean cultures, with Instagram user @iamgrude commenting:
"There are so many ways to show appreciation for another culture. You can eat their food, listen to their music, support their businesses, become their friends, etc.
"But you do NOT have to change your appearance to look like them to show appreciation."
On the other side, however, a number of people felt Adele was not appropriating, but showing her love and respect for Jamaican culture for a specific occasion that celebrates it.
Twitter user @TielaLeo responded to Owens' tweet by saying:
"Nah, bro. Read up on the Notting Hill Carnival before you comment on this photo. In my humble opinion, this is not cultural appropriation. It is cultural appreciation! That festival is a celebration of different cultures."
Similarly, many felt that much of the negative criticism was not actually coming from African or Carribean people.
"Sometimes the Black Americans get outraged over nothing. There’s nothing wrong with Adele wearing a Jamaican-flag bikini top & African Bantu Knots on her head. Africans love it. Jamaicans love it. So why are the AA pressed? Who made them the spokespeople for the Black culture?" one Twitter user wrote.
"These people need to learn how to differentiate cultural appreciation and appropriation. Adele isn't getting more credit than Jamaicans for celebrating the carnival here with Bantu knots, pretending Jamaican culture is hers or exploiting it for clout. Let her be," added another.
Adele has yet to respond to the criticisms.