Coldplay and Beyonce’s new music video for “Hymn For The Weekend,” released Friday, has already received a lot of attention — but not for the right reasons.
The video, which was set and filmed in India, has been criticized for appropriating Indian culture — which is used primarily as backdrop and costume in the music video. From the laughing children running barefoot throughout the video to Beyonce’s face jewelry and strange hand gestures — the entire video reeks of stereotypical representation of India, a diverse country of over one billion people. And popular Indian actress Sonam Kapoor receives little more than a few seconds on screen.
This is not the first time that Coldplay has used another culture and country as nothing more than a backdrop for its own videos. Its video “Princess of China,” featuring Rihanna, followed a similar pattern in 2011.
Coldplay’s latest video, and its representation of India, has prompted some backlash on social media.
Beyonce's video is a problem because it's reductive, and uses India as a prop for capitalist gain. A land and culture she has no right to.
— rachana j (@chanaaaj) January 29, 2016
Coldplay's new video is basically what India looks like to white people
— Kanksha Raina (@SpoiledHobo) January 29, 2016
It turns out that Beyonce wasn't even in India when she filmed those scenes so pic.twitter.com/U3O6AeKcB7
— ️Desnudate (@ethanrih) January 29, 2016
Sooooooo … Are y'all gonna drag Beyonce for cultural appropriation the same way y'all drag white people?
— Chocolate Bar (@RespectTheAfro_) January 29, 2016
From Selena Gomez wearing a bindi to Iggy Azalea’s appropriation of black culture, many in the music industry have received criticism in recent years for appropriating other cultures. In August 2015, Taylor Swift’s video “Wildest Dreams,” which was filmed in Tanzania and notably lacked any black people, was met with backlash for romanticizing an era of European imperialism on the continent.