Cardi B Responds to Claims of Cultural Appropriation on Magazine Cover

Cardi B
Jora Frantzis for Footwear News

The 28-year-old rapper apologized and promised to do her research moving forward.

Cardi B is reaching out to her fans who may have been offended by her recent Reebok photo shoot for the cover of Footwear News. The cover image, which features Cardi in a strapless red gown, holding a shoe with eight extra arms, is meant to portray the "W.A.P." rapper as the Hindu goddess Durga. 

Hindu fans spoke out on Twitter about the shoot, calling it offensive and accused Cardi of mocking their culture. 

Cardi addressed the controversy in her Instagram Stories earlier this week, saying in a video, "When I did the Reebok shoot, the creatives were telling me, 'You're going to represent a goddess. She represents strength, femininity, and liberation,' and that's something that I love and that I'm all about and I thought that it was dope." 

Jora Frantzis for Footwear News

She added that since the cover's release she's seen the negative feedback and apologizes for the hurt it has caused. 

"If people think I'm offending their culture or their religion, I want to say I'm sorry. That was not my intent," she added. "I do not like disrespecting nobody's religion. I wouldn't like people to offend my religion... I wasn't trying to be disrespectful. Maybe I should have done my research and I'm sorry. I can't change the past but I'm gonna do more research for the future." 

Footwear News also released a statement following the backlash. 

"Yesterday we posted content from our exclusive Cardi B cover shoot. One of the images was intended to pay homage to Hindu goddess Durga, and our intent was to show a powerful woman," the publication shared. "However, we realize we were not considerate of certain cultural and religious perspectives and how this could be perceived as deeply offensive. We take full accountability for this oversight and we apologize. It is important we learn from this example and are sensitive to this sort of religious imagery when creative discussions are taking place in the future. Today, we’re releasing another cover from the shoot that was a subscriber exclusive."

In the cover story for Footwear News, Cardi opened up about facing online criticism. 

“It’s hard," she admitted. "There’s a lot that I want to keep to myself when it comes to my personal life, but sometimes people get an inch of my personal life and they start with the rumors. I feel like I’m going to shut it down and address it. That’s always been my issue."