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Cardi B Apologizes After Being Accused Of Disrespecting Hindu Culture With Reebok Photoshoot

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Last October, Cardi B partnered with Reebok to create the “Club C Cardi” shoe, to be presented to the public on November 13th.

To prepare for the release, Cardi took part in a photoshoot for the cover of Footwear News, but Cardi and Reebok found themselves facing backlash before the shoe even hit the shelves.

The problem wasn’t with the shoe but with the cover image from Footwear News on Instagram, featuring Cardi B holding her shoe in a way that lightly harkened the Hindu goddess, Durga.


People immediately took to Twitter and Instagram, pointing out the misrepresentation of the goddess. 

Others said the image failed at respecting Durga at all and said it was just disrespectful of the Hindu religion as a whole. 

After hearing of the backlash online, Reebok removed the image from Instagram, leaving behind two other pictures of Cardi in the red dress portion of the photoshoot. 


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A post shared by Footwear News (@footwearnews)

The company also updated the cover photo that would be featured by Footwear News, instead featuring Cardi B in a black dress that appeared to be melting across the floor with the Reebok shoe featured in the puddle. 


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A post shared by Footwear News (@footwearnews)

The company wrote:

“One of the images was intended to pay homage to the 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.”

“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.”

Cardi B also made a point of issuing an apology in an Instagram story that was captured on Twitter. 

In the Instagram story, Cardi stated in part: 

“When I did the Reebok shoot, the creatives told me I was going to represent a Goddess; that she represents strength, femininity, and liberation, and that’s something I love and I’m all about, and I thought it was dope.”

“If people think I’m offending their culture or their religion I want to say I’m sorry. That was not my intent. 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, I’m sorry, I can’t change the past, but I will do more research for the future.”

Since issuing the apology, however, Cardi also asked fans and onlookers to go a little easier on her, overwhelmed by the amount of criticism she was receiving.

“I do respect your opinion and I do respect your feelings, so I apologize for it. I do gotta do my research. I’m sorry, guys. I think people want us to know every word or every religion or everything, and sometimes we just don’t know. But it’s good to learn so I won’t do it again.”

“But while ya teaching me a lesson, and while ya telling me what to do, don’t disrespect me neither. Don’t call me a b***h. Don’t call me a w***e. Don’t call me a s**t. Don’t go saying that I’m a terrible person.”

And despite all of the negative energy going around, Cardi’s new shoe sold out online before the November 13th appearance. 

Cardi appeared in another Instagram video, appearing overwhelmed at first by the amount of hate she was receiving for the shoe being sold out already. 


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A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib)

But after watching the whole video, it’s obvious these were tears of happiness instead of stress or sadness.

Fortunately in some cases, celebrities humble themselves and realize they did something inappropriate and do their best to correct it. In Cardi’s case, she couldn’t totally erase the inclusion of the goddess-inspired photo from her existing photoshoot, but it seems pretty likely she’ll be doing her research next time.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit