Singer Rihanna was revealed as the August 2019 cover girl for Harper's Bazaar China on Tuesday.
The luxury fashion designer graced the pages of the high-end magazine in a series of eye-catching ensembles unique to Chinese culture. While some praised the magazine for its editorial creativity, others couldn't help but voice their discontent based on claims of cultural appropriation.
Per Business of Fashion, Ri Ri's spread was shot by Chinese photographer Chen Men and her wardrobe was provided by designers Iris Van Herpen and Jean Paul Gaultier. No one's denying how beautiful the "Disturbia" singer looks, but the additions of Chinese hand fans and detailed styling caused debate online.
So it's not cultural appropriation as long as it's internet's fav doing it?— 👀 (@stillwedance_) July 10, 2019
i know we all love her, but why isn't this cultural appropriation? or is it and nobody cares bc it's rihanna? or is it just "fashion"? https://t.co/OxHsn3lvBm— Iris (@MariahajilE) July 9, 2019
The replies to this tweet stink of double standard.— Kope ♥️ (@justfeyi) July 9, 2019
It’s not cultural appropriation when Rihanna does it but it is when Kim Kardashian does something similar.
E go be ✌🏾 https://t.co/vx98S2qUmS
A majority was quick to come to the cosmetic mogul's defense, crediting an army of local creatives who were present to ensure the shoot was appropriate for the culture.
It’s not cultural appropriation because the entire team behind Harper’s Bazaar China is Chinese and it’s specificated in their Instagram post. THEY, Chinese people, dressed Rihanna like that. pic.twitter.com/AHhZjD89aN— амаира (@amairargz) July 9, 2019
Rihanna's Harper's Bazaar China photoshoot is not cultural appropriation at all. The whole team behind the photoshoot (stylist, photographers, chief/visual editors) were Chinese.— #R9 | the Hanbin stan (@ikonavy) July 9, 2019
Y’all accusing Rihanna of cultural appropriation when the photographer is Chinese and photos for are a Chinese publications ... you hate to see it pic.twitter.com/Kv2NV9dnDP— Tiearra Harris (@Cool_GuysOnly) July 10, 2019
The debate caused users to compare the Grammy-winning songstress to the likes of Kim Kardashian, who not too long ago was also embroiled in heavy debate about what constitutes cultural appropriation. The reality star recently launched a line of shapewear titled "Kimono," and it caused considerable backlash among those in the Japanese community due to its name correlating with the traditional wardrobe piece. After much criticism, the mom of four announced on July 1 she would be dropping the Kimono name in favor of another moniker.
My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name. I will be in touch soon. Thank you for your understanding and support always.— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 1, 2019
Rihanna has remained mum since discussion began. Perhaps she's waiting to address the controversy on her new album. We can only hope.