Coldplay & Beyoncé – Hymn For The Weekend

Coldplay & Beyoncé - Appropriation Or Appreciation?

An online row has broken out over the weekend following the debut on Friday (29th January) of the video for Coldplay’s new single, Hymn For The Weekend. The video which was shot in Mumbai, India features Beyoncé  in the role of a Bollywood actress wearing traditional Desi attire.

While many of the film’s detractors have criticised the band for their portrayal of India through stereotypical images of peacocks, children splashing holi colors, overgrown ruins and brightly coloured buildings, some have gone so far as to claim the very inclusion of such images is nothing less than cultural appropriation.

Unsurprisingly Coldplay and Beyoncé fans as well as independent viewers have sprung to their defence, a sizeable number making the point that in multi-cultural societies it’s almost inevitable, if not even desirable that formerly separate cultures will begin to reflect each others influence. Indeed the video features Indian boys breakdancing which is part of black Afro-American culture that began in the USA.

The artists and the video’s director will argue that no disrespect was intended and that the reasons for filming in India was because of an appreciation of the country and its culture. Celebrated Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor who makes an appearance in the video revealed:

‘I love Coldplay’s music and so does the world. It was a huge honour to be a part of the video. It’s a great concept and I had a lot of fun shooting for it.’

Have people become over-sensitive and has political correctness gone too far or is it wrong for one culture to incorporate elements of another? If so, where should the line be drawn and who gets to make that decision? What do you think?

Hymn For The Weekend, taken from Coldplay’s album “A Head Full Of Dreams“, was released last week.

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