For the last few days, Cardi B has been building fans’ anticipation for her upcoming sneaker release with Reebok. On her Instagram Story, she’s reposted videos of celebrity reactions to the footwear and its extraordinary packaging. On her actual feed, she posted a few photos of her as the latest cover of Footwear News.
Per the publication, Cardi’s looks were meant to channel the Hindu goddess Durga who much like her “is a dominant female voice at a critical time.” In her portrayal of the photo, however, she replaced the weapons traditionally held by the deity with her Club C Cardi sneaker.
The rapper’s depiction of Durga was harshly criticized by members of the Hindu community who mentioned that her use of shoes in the photo was disrespectful as footwear isn’t even permitted in temples. Social media users also alleged she was mocking and appropriating their culture.
Cardi wasted very little time and hopped on Instagram to address the allegations, issuing an apology for the misrepresentation. “When I did the Reebok shoot, the creative [team] was telling me, ‘You’re gonna represent a goddess,’ that she represents strength, femininity and liberation,” she said. “That’s something that I love and I’m all about, and I thought it was dope.”
“But if people think I’m offending their culture or their religion, I want to say I’m sorry. That was not my intent,” Cardi continued. “I do not like disrespecting nobody’s religion … I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful. Maybe I should’ve 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 issued their own apology following the backlash. “Yesterday, we posted content from our exclusive Cardi B cover shoot,” the statement read. “One of the images was intended to pay homage to Hindu goddess Durga, and our intent was to show a powerful woman. However, we realize we were not considerate of certain cultural and religious perspectives and how this could be perceived as deeply offensive.”