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Cultural Appropriation and Coldplay - What's the Debate About?

Cultural Appropriation and Coldplay - What's the Debate About?

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    Feb 03, 2016   Author : admin


Over the last few days Coldplay’s new video has been the center of all internet talks for all the wrong reasons! The video for the song “Hymn for the Weekend” might have lots of great things about it. Beyonce, for example, who features in the video and lends her voice to the song as well. Plus, there has been considerable effort put into making the video including filming it in India. However, sadly the song is receiving flack from internet users who are accusing the band of cultural appropriation of India. 

Fans have taken to social media to express their disappointment over the video which is brimming with stereotypes about the country and reconfirming beliefs of it still being the “land of the snake charmers”. From dancing peacocks and elephants to sadhus and children dancing on the streets while playing Holi, everything seems to be confirming to a white band’s mainstream idea about India and skewed perspectives. Chris Martin is seen sitting outside colorful temples, travelling in taxis and watching movies in run down theaters. While Beyonce stars as a Bollywood heroine, wearing over the top jewelery, head gear and henna on her hands while not-so-subtly being introduce with the most generic name “Rani” (aka Queen ala Queen Bee, get it?). All this only conforms to clichés and unjustly exoticizing a country.

A lot of people have called out this portrayal as disrespectful and representing a culture in the wrong light as Coldplay had been in the major cities in the countries and even played gigs at hip clubs while only presenting the picture of rural areas in their video. A twitter user says, "@coldplay don't exoticize us. You've been to the clubs and everything. Why do you want to make it seem like all we do is dance in the streets."

Twitterati, however, seems divided on the outrage though. While a lot of Indian fans have also come forward in defense of the band. One such user wrote, "I adore Beyonce for embracing my culture."

A section was also excited to spot Bollywood actress, Sonam Kapoor, in the video (even though for she gets a little over 3 shots of screen time)! 

Sonam herself seemed quite elated when she tweeted, “A story to tell my grandkids! I was in a @Coldplay video! Woo hoo! #biggestfan” and apparently she now gets lifetime VIP access to all Coldplay shows in future. 

In the past other artists have also been targeted with similar accusations for their videos. Iggy Azalea’s video, “Bounce” and Major Lazer’s “Lean On” were also looked upon as distasteful for their random montages on Indian culture and clichéd Bollywood style dance steps. 

Here’s to hoping, this is going to point international bands to up their research game in future before portraying a country in their videos.

Have you seen the much talked about video yet? Do let us know what your thoughts on it are! 

Images: | MYC Writer: Elonah Bioneda

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