Why Is Cardi B Being Criticized For The Poor Judgement Of Others?

Rose Burke

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Image Source: Instagram

Cardi B is receiving criticism over a recent Reebok photoshoot she did for the cover of Footwear News, which begs the question: is it fair that she endure this backlash alone? The W.A.P. rapper partnered with Reebok and released her Club C Cardi sneaker collection this week, one which depicted her as the eight-armed Hindu goddess Durga.

The Hindu community was quick to point out how disrespectful the photo is, but where the backlash directed at Reebok and Footwear News?

The Controversial 'Footwear News' Photo

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Photo Source: Twitter

The photo above was posted by Footwear News on Thursday with a lengthy description of Cardi B's new line of sneakers. They also wrote in their post:

"...[Cardi] pays homage to Durga, the Hindu goddess, whose symbols of protection and inner strength resonate as much in modern times as they have through the centuries. Like Durga, Cardi B is a dominant female voice at a critical time."

Despite calling it a homage, the Hindu community strongly disagrees.

The Public Backlash

After the photo was posted online, the backlash started immediately. One Twitter user pointed out how the image couldn't be further from a homage and listed reasons why it's incredibly disrespectful.

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Another Tweet not only blames Cardi B but also criticizes Americans for their habit of casually appropriating other cultures (which, let's be honest, we tend to do).

Despite it being pointed out time and time again, people still can't recognize when they're disrespecting other cultures until it's too late. Why does it take backlash from the public for major brands and celebrities to realize what they did was wrong? This Twitter user is right. No matter how many apologies are offered afterward, the same mistakes are made again and again.

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While Durga has been used in Indian pop culture before, the Hindu community has made it clear that using her depiction to sell sneakers is disrespectful, and as one Twitter user wrote, "unbelievably disgusting."

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The Apologies

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Image Source: Twitter

Both Cardi B and Footwear News were quick to apologize and remove the disgraceful photograph from their social media channels. The rapper posted a video to her Instagram story that explained how she was misled by the creative minds behind the photoshoot into believing she would be depicted as a God but wasn't told specifically what God.

"When I did the Reebok shoot, the creatives were telling me, 'You're going to represent a goddess. She represents strength, femininity, and liberation,' and that's something that I love and that I'm all about and I thought that it was dope ... 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... I wasn't trying to be disrespectful. Maybe I should have done my research and I'm sorry. I can't change the past but I'm gonna do more research for the future."

While Cardi B admits she should have asked more questions and done her research, this concept should have never been introduced in the first place. Why aren't these creatives she mentioned apologizing?

The apology released by Footwear News on Twitter was disappointing to say the least. Despite taking full responsibility for the concept, their sentiments were weak at best.

"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. 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. It is important we learn from this example and are sensitive to this sort of religious imagery when creative discussions are taking place in the future."

Who's To Blame?

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Image Source: Chrisallmeid

When something like this occurs, people are quick to throw the celebrities involved under the bus. However, they forget to recognize that behind any project celebs are involved in is a team of people who are pulling the strings. The celebrities are often just the faces hired to execute their ideas and aren't always privledged to seeing the big picture. So, who's to blame?

The Creatives

The concept behind this particular photoshoot was birthed by a team of creatives and was likely later approved by their higher-ups. None of them thought there was anything wrong with the idea obviously, as it made its way into production. All of these people hold a portion of the blame.

Cardi B's Team

From there, the idea was probably brought to Cardi B's team, trickling down until it reached the rapper herself. While they may not have been specifically told that she would be depicting the Hindu goddess Durga, clearly none of her associates asked for more details or saw a problem with the photoshoot's concept at this point either. Otherwise, it never would have taken place. All of these people hold a portion of the blame as well.

The Team On Set

On set, those in charge of Cardi B's hair, makeup, and wardrobe were all given direction based on the concept. Everyone present at the photoshoot saw what was being captured, and still, no one said a thing. All of these people hold a portion of the blame.

Cardi B

Cardi B may be the only face behind this catastrophic disaster, but in my opinion, she holds the least amount of blame. Likely she was only given a general concept of the photoshoot along with a vague description of Durga before directed to strike a series of poses. It would have been difficult to see this coming.

Moving Forward

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Image Source: Sujit kumar

The first step in moving forward is educating the general public on Durga, the Hindu goddess of war, strength, and protection. She worshiped among Hindus and is often depicted with eight arms riding a lion or tiger. In each hand, she holds a weapon that can help to fight off evil and maintain peace. According to Hindu mythology, each weapon is offered to her from one of the male Gods as she is considered the Shakti or the female principle of the divine force that fills the universe.

Here are some notable facts about Durga:

  • Each of Durga's arms symbolizes a direction and suggests that she offers protection from all angles.
  • Some weapons she holds include mace, a sword, and an arrow. The chosen weapon depends on who the enemy is.
  • Durga's name translates to " invincible" and is considered the supreme power.

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