Coldplay recently released the music video of their new single “Hymn for the Weekend”, featuring Beyoncé. The video was shot in Mumbai, India, during the sacred Hindu festival of Holi. The video mixes cultural and religious practices, capitalizing on existing stereotypes of India. Unsurprisingly, it has received immediate backlash, reigniting the debate on cultural appreciation vs. appropriation.
It’s fitting to begin this discussion by first defining what cultural appropriation is: a privileged group exploiting the symbols, traditions, and practices of a marginalized group for profit, often with little understanding of the latter group’s significance and history of it.