Music superstar Rihanna is facing backlash after posing topless with a pendant depicting the Hindu god Ganesha in a photo posted Monday.
Rihanna is once again under fire for using cultural and religious imagery in the promotion of her “Savage X Fenty” clothing brand. On Monday, the 32-year-old celebrity posted a topless photo of herself modeling a pair of shorts from the brand. Among her accessories, a large pendant depicting the Hindu god Ganesha.
Social media response was almost immediately negative. “rihanna !! stop using my religion as an aesthetic !! that ganesh figurine at the end of the chain 🙁 is a holy and sacred figure for us hindus,” one user tweeted. Another pointed out that her promotion occurred during a Hindu religious “day of ganesh jayanti” celebration.
This is far from the first time Rihanna has been called out for commercializing other cultures for her benefit. In 2019, she pulled a cosmetic highlighter named “Geisha Chic” from Fenty Beauty after similar outrage followed her appearance in China’s July issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
In 2020, she issued a public apology toward the Muslim community for using a religious song during a lingerie show released on Amazon Prime. “I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our savage x fenty show,” she said on Instagram. “Moving forward we will make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Thank you for your forgiveness and understanding.”
Some users voiced their support of the artist. “If anyone wants to take my culture and traditional costumes and religious figures, do it. I’d be happy to see other people enjoying it also,” one said. “They can’t be mad when the image of #Ganesha is literally everywhere on clothing etc in the US. #hatersgonnahate,” another added.
The photo is currently Rihanna’s most popular Instagram photo with over 9.8 million “likes.” As of the time of this writing, Rihanna’s representation has yet to release a statement.