Selena Gomez Bindi: Hindu Leaders Demand Apology For MTV Movie Awards

An oldie, posted originally in 2013, but a goodie when it comes to cultural symbols and whether or not the adoption of them in pop culture is cultural appropriation. Selena Gomez is certainly not the first pop star to use a bindi, specifically, in her performances (e.g. Madonna, Gwen Stefani), but that is not a justification for the continued use. Or is it? Well the Hindu Leaders at the Universal Society for Hinduism were certainly not impressed…

Originally published on The Huffington Post on April 16, 2013. Written by Cavan Sieczkowski.


Selena Gomez Bindi: Hindu Leaders Demand Apology For MTV Movie Awards Costume

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Selena Gomez is being criticized as culturally insensitive after she donned a Hindu religious ornament during a recent performance.


The 20-year-old singer took to the stage on Sunday at the MTV Movie Awards to perform her new single, “Come & Get It.” For the performance, she wore a red dress and a sparkling bindi on her head.


The bindi has landed Gomez in hot water with Hindu leaders at the Universal Society of Hinduism who want her to apologize for wearing the religious adornment.

“The bindi on the forehead is an ancient tradition in Hinduism and has religious significance,” Hindu statesman Rajan Zed told WENN. “It is also sometimes referred to as the third eye and the flame, and it is an auspicious religious and spiritual symbol… It is not meant to be thrown around loosely for seductive effects or as a fashion accessory aiming at mercantile greed. Selena should apologize and then she should get acquainted with the basics of world religions.”

The Times of India noted that there were other traditional Indian motifs to Gomez’s performance. “Come & Get It” opens with a man singing in Punjabi with tabla percussions heard in the background. She paired the song with some classic Indian dance moves, done while barefoot.

Twitter users were not happy with the former Disney star’s attempt at cultural appropriation.
Prior to her performance, Gomez said her MTV costume would be “glam tribal” to go along with the feeling of the song.


“The whole record kind of has a world feel to it in a way,” she told MTV News. “It’s very European and has a lot of island-y sounds. It’s got a cool vibe to it, so we’re applying it to the performance and even the tour and for future things we want to do and for this kick-off performance.”
The “Spring Breakers” actress, who will embark on a world tour this summer, has yet to respond to the controversy.