10+ Times Celebrities Were Called Out For Cultural Appropriation

There's a fine line between honoring and appropriating another's culture. Sometimes, it's difficult to see the distinction, and then there are the other times when it screams right in your face.

Below are 10+ times that celebrities were called out for cultural appropriation. Hopefully, through their mistakes, we can all learn and make an attempt to be more considerate and understanding of cultures moving forward.

Jennifer Lawrence

In 2018, Jennifer participated in an ad for Dior that was intended to highlight and celebrate Mexican culture.

Many people were understandably confused as to why an ad that was geared toward Latin American culture would star a white woman.

Jennifer Lopez

JLo has been accused of appropriating black culture for years. She has a habit of featuring black artists on her singles and has even said the n-word on record.

Most recently, she faced backlash for a selfie that showed the singer's baby hair.

Katy Perry

Katy is another pop singer who has been called out multiple times over the years.

Her greatest misstep came when she dressed as a Geisha for a performance at the 2013 AMAs. She's since apologized and has vowed to continue educating herself on other peoples' cultures.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj caught some flack when she premiered her single "Chun Li" on Saturday Night Live.

Nicki chose to wear traditional East Asian attire, similar to the Street Fighter character that the song gets its name from.

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton had one of the most culturally offensive Halloween costumes that Hollywood has ever seen.

Back in 2010, the heiress thought it would be a good idea to dress as a "sexy Indian" as she so eloquently put it.


The Adele accusations have only recently transpired. The hairstyle that the iconic pop star is sporting in this photo is called Bantu knots: a traditional style worn by women of Africa.

This photo was taken during what would have been the Notting Hill Carnival.

Chet Hanks

Chet Hanks is the son of the legendary actor, Tom Hanks. As hard as it might be to believe, Chet is also a rapper.

He managed to get himself into hot water when it was discovered he'd made comments on social media using the n-word.

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum's love for Halloween has been well documented over the years.

But the famed supermodel may have taken things too far when she chose to dress up as the ancient Hindu god, Krishna.

Post Malone

I don't have enough time to dissect just how badly Post Malone has/continues to appropriate black culture for his own personal gain. I mean come on; the guy made a song called "White Iverson" for crying out loud.

For a thorough debunking of Post Malone, you have to listen to Charlamagne tha God.

Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen should have learned from the mistakes of Paris Hilton. There's nothing sexy about genocide, and celebrities like Chrissy would do well to better educate themselves on the struggles of American indigenous peoples.

This costume isn't cute, it's ignorant.

Pamela Anderson

Pam was the original cultural appropriator when it comes to Indigenous American culture.

For Halloween, the Baywatch bombshell decided it would be a good idea to adorn herself in a full-length Head Dress, the kind typically worn during religious and cultural ceremonies.

Machine Gun Kelly

MGK has been accused of using hip-hop and Black culture as a launch point for his music career.

The singer has since ditched the gold grills and chains for skinny jeans and a guitar; you be the judge.

Ashley Tisdale

Dia De Los Muertos or "The Day of the Dead" is a Mexican holiday that's celebrated on November 2nd. The point of which is for friends and family members to gather and honor the memories of those who've died.

Ashley's choice of Halloween costume, therefore, was understandably met with some resistance.

Ariana Grande

Just like MGK, Ariana has been called out for appropriating hip-hop culture. Her song "7RINGS" has also been accused of plagiarism.

I have to admit, it has a lot in common with Princess Nokia's "Mine." Have a listen and decide for yourself.

Tia Mowry

Come on, people! Have we not learned the hard way that augmenting the color of your skin to resemble another race is just wrong?

What did Tia think was going to happen when she posted this picture?

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian has been accused of cultural appropriation several times over.

She most recently made headlines in 2019 after wearing a traditional Indian headpiece known as the maang tikka to one of Kanye West's Sunday Service performances.

Selena Gomez

Selena came under fire in the media back in 2013 when she adorned herself with a Bindi; a symbolic representation of female energy as well as the third eye.

This accessory is becoming more and more common in the music industry, especially among young female performers.

Iggy Azalea

Iggy was accused of cultural appropriation through her music and offered up a half-hearted apology to Cosmopolitan:

"I’m still going to make the same type of music and still be ridiculous and larger than life. So I can’t be that [expletive] sorry about it.”


Beyoncé and Coldplay's "Hymn For The Weekend" sparked outrage in the Indian community after images of Beyoncé dressed as a Bollywood star began to surface.

Fans still debate whether or not this is appropriating or appreciating — what do you think?

Miley Cyrus

Many thought that Miley used hip-hop culture to her advantage and then threw it under the bus at her first opportunity.

She condemned the entire genre for being misogynistic and made every attempt to distance herself from the music that helped make her a star.

Gwen Stefani

Gwen has become rather infamous when it comes to appropriating different cultures. She's been photographed wearing a Bindi, a traditional Indigenous Headdress, and countless other garments.

There was also a period of time where Gwen went everywhere with her Harajuku Girls.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga has appeared in several outfits that appear to be inspired by the burka.

Many have accused her of using the traditional garment to advance her own political agenda, as well as overtly sexualizing aspects of the Islamic faith.

Taylor Swift

During Taylor's performance at the Billboard Music Awards, the country singer turned pop star was accused of not only appropriating Black culture but Beyoncé as well!

Many fans thought that it mirrored Queen Bey's Coachella performance and began referring to Taylor as Mayochella.

Justin Bieber

Blonde dreadlocks? Did Justin walk into his barbershop and shout, "I want to look like Jack Black in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer!"?

Needless to say, this hairdo didn't sit well with the majority of people for obvious reasons.

Avril Lavigne

Avril would have done better to learn from the mistakes of her fellow contemporary Gwen Stefani. This music video is nothing more than a blatant attempt to white-wash Japanese culture.

The beginning of the song is even sung in Japanese.


Madonna was appropriating cultures while most of the other stars on this list were still in diapers.

Her song "Vogue" was accused of 'borrowing' the popular dance style of the same name, popularized largely by Black and Latinx members of the LGBTQ community.

Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa got in trouble after posting a Snapchat of herself wearing a box braids wig; a style of hairdo traditionally worn by women in Africa to protect their hair.

Many found the photo to be incredibly insensitive.

Gigi Hadid

Gigi was slammed on social media for wearing a traditional Muslim hijab on the cover of Vogue.

Many were quick to point out that religious garments shouldn't be used as a fashion statement — especially from someone not of the faith.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett has a history of controversy when it comes to her choice in roles, but is quick to defend her decisions.

She feels that as an actor, it's her job as well as her right to be able to portray any person of any race.

Kylie Jenner

Critics were quick to point out that the same braided hairstyle on a Black woman wouldn't and hasn't been traditionally referred to as 'beautiful' but rather as 'ghetto.'

Kylie has since deleted the post from her social media.

Emma Stone

Director Cameron Crowe was in the hot seat after casting Emma Stone in the lead role of Aloha; a role she deeply regrets.

White people make up less than 30% of Hawaii's population and many felt that the film didn't accurately portray that.