It seems we can't go more than a few weeks these days without one celebrity or another embarrassing themselves by displaying racial and cultural ignorance. This week everyone's talking about Rihanna's latest gaffe at her Savage X Fenty show in New York on Friday (October 2nd), whereby she used a background track which appropriates a sacred element of the Islamic religion.

Rihanna at AFI FEST 2019 / Photo Credit:  Image Press Agency/SIPA USA/PA ImagesRihanna at AFI FEST 2019 / Photo Credit:  Image Press Agency/SIPA USA/PA Images

A video clip is doing the rounds showing models, drag queens and dancers strutting their stuff to the song Doom by Coucou Chloe; the remix of which features a speeded up Hadith (essentially what Muslims believe to be the word of the Prophet Muhammad) which tells of the signs of the day of judgement. As appropriate as that sounds for 2020, it has offended a great many of Rihanna's Muslim followers and for a very good reason.

This holy scripture is clearly being used as part of a kind of exotic aesthetic, with no respectful nod to the origin whatsoever. It's the definition of cultural appropriation, and not only that, but it's cheapened by her use of lingerie models which is clearly at odds with Islam's moral code of modesty. It's fine to disagree with such a convention, but it turns to disrespect when you use that to make a mockery of their holy traditions.

While you could argue that Rihanna may not have known about the connotations of the track used in her lingerie show, this is not actually the first time she's managed to offend the Muslim community. Back in 2013, she was criticised for taking inappropriate photos of herself outside a place of worship in Abu Dhabi. One shot was even posted on Instagram with a group of local women dressed in similar traditional all-black attire in the background with the caption "b***h stole my look". 

In the past she has been praised for using hijabi women in her make-up campaigns, and she's always been a vocal advocate for diversity be it cultural, racial, sexual or physical. However, this time she appears to have really missed the mark. Rihanna is yet to comment on the blunder, so it's currently unclear how she feels about the backlash. It is worth mentioning, though, that this is actually the second time she has used the song in one of her shows; it also featured in Fenty X Puma show in September 2017.

Others have been quick to speak out, however, with one writing: "I can't let Rihanna have a pass with appropriating Islam, like for her first show the models wore a scarf around their heads and it looked like HIJAB and her second show she used a track that remixed a HADITH... Why is no one talking about this? My religion is not y'alls aesthetic."

They added: "Like I LOVE IT when y'all appreciate Islam and use Arabic words but I am not okay with it being appropriated and belittled for things like this. The last thing y'all should be doing is remixing verses of the Qur'an for your music like wtf it's absolutely disrespectful."