Cardi B is apologizing after she faced accusations of cultural appropriation over her appearance on the November cover of Footwear News. Promoting her upcoming collaboration with Reebok, the 28-year-old rapper graced the cover of the magazine in an image showing her with 10 outstretched arms as she held a sneaker. The image, resembling that of the Hindu goddess Durga, who is traditionally depicted as having 10 arms, was a way to pay "homage" to the goddess, the magazine reportedly explained on Instagram, according to Indian Express. The magazine, in its original post, explained that "like Durga, Cardi B is a dominant female voice at a critical time."
That likeness, however, did not go over well with many fans, who accused Cardi, as well as the magazine, of appropriating Hinduism. On Twitter, one person blasted the photo, writing that "Cardi b did not pay 'homage' to the Hindu goddess Durga by holding a shoe in her hand, this is plain disrespect and in no way cultural appreciation." That same person said that the rapper "can't get away with this without addressing and apologizing for mocking our culture." Numerous other people felt similarly, with one stating that the likeness was "straight up racist."
📸 | Cardi B in the exclusive photoshoot for Footwear News, shot by Jora Frantzis, posing with her Cardi x Reebok Club C sneakers. (1/3)November 10, 2020
The outcry quickly made its way to Cardi, who took to Instagram on Wednesday morning to apologize. In a video shared to her Story, the musician explained that when she did the photoshoot, she was told that she would "represent a Goddess" who "represents strength, femininity and liberation." She said that "that's something I love and I'm all about." She went on to apologize, stating, "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." Cardi said that she was not "trying to be disrespectful" and acknowledged, "maybe I should have done my research." Adding that she "can't change the past," she promised to "do more research for the future."
The backlash also prompted a response from Footwear News, who, in a statement to PEOPLE, said that they "realize we were not considerate of certain cultural and religious perspectives and how this could be perceived as deeply offensive." The magazine went on to "take full accountability for this oversight" and apologized, stating that "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."