Demi Lovato criticized for wearing dreadlocks in new video

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Demi Lovato has earned criticism on social media for sporting a hairstyle resembling dreadlocks in her new music video.

The 24-year-old singer unveiled the clip for No Promises, her new single, online Tuesday. She appears in the video next to electric dance duo Cheat Codes, who co-wrote the song.

Fans promptly noticed Demi’s hair in the video appears to be twisted into locks – and took to Twitter to criticize that choice.

Faux pas: Demi Lovato has faced accusations of cultural appropriation for wearing dreadlock-style hair in her new music video, which she unveiled online Tuesday

Faux pas: Demi Lovato has faced accusations of cultural appropriation for wearing dreadlock-style hair in her new music video, which she unveiled online Tuesday

Faux pas: Demi Lovato has faced accusations of cultural appropriation for wearing dreadlock-style hair in her new music video, which she unveiled online Tuesday

Do: Fans promptly noticed Demi's hair in the video appears to be twisted into locks

Do: Fans promptly noticed Demi's hair in the video appears to be twisted into locks

Backlash: Viewers took to Twitter to criticize the hair choice, which several deemed offensive

Backlash: Viewers took to Twitter to criticize the hair choice, which several deemed offensive

Backlash: Fans promptly noticed Demi’s hair in the video appears to be twisted into locks – and took to Twitter to criticize that choice, which several deemed offensive

Dreadlocks, which come from the Rastafari religious movement that originated in Jamaica in the 1930s, remain associated with African American culture.

Researchers have also traced back the origins of the hairstyle, also known as locks in a secular context, to various populations. These include Vikings, New Guineans, Egyptians, Pacific Islanders, Christians, Aborigines, and members of several African tribes including the Maasai, as reported by CNN. 

Given their culturally-charged history, attempts to transpose dreadlocks in a pop culture context have often prompted accusations of cultural appropriation.

The singer was no exception, and fans explained on social media how it was difficult for them to look past the faux pas.

‘Demi has dreads in this music video SO CONFLICTED RN,’ one fan tweeted.

No-no: Given their culturally-charged history, attempts to transpose dreadlocks in a pop culture context have often prompted accusations of cultural appropriation

No-no: Given their culturally-charged history, attempts to transpose dreadlocks in a pop culture context have often prompted accusations of cultural appropriation

No-no: Given their culturally-charged history, attempts to transpose dreadlocks in a pop culture context have often prompted accusations of cultural appropriation

New release: The 24-year-old  appears in the video next to electric dance duo Cheat Codes, who co-wrote the new single titled No Promises

New release: The 24-year-old  appears in the video next to electric dance duo Cheat Codes, who co-wrote the new single titled No Promises

New release: The 24-year-old appears in the video next to electric dance duo Cheat Codes, who co-wrote the new single titled No Promises

Been there before: Some wondered why the star had opted to sport the do at all, with one of them wondering how Demi could not have realized that choice would look insensitive

Been there before: Some wondered why the star had opted to sport the do at all, with one of them wondering how Demi could not have realized that choice would look insensitive

Been there before: Some wondered why the star had opted to sport the do at all, with one of them wondering how Demi could not have realized that choice would look insensitive

Complicated: Fans explained on social media how it was difficult for them to look past the singer's faux pas as they listened to the new single and watched the clip

Complicated: Fans explained on social media how it was difficult for them to look past the singer's faux pas as they listened to the new single and watched the clip

Complicated: Fans explained on social media how it was difficult for them to look past the singer’s faux pas as they listened to the new single and watched the clip

Precedent: Demi isn't the first celebrity facing accusations of having appropriated the hairstyle. Marc Jacobs, Kylie Jenner and Katy Perry have all been in her shoes

Precedent: Demi isn't the first celebrity facing accusations of having appropriated the hairstyle. Marc Jacobs, Kylie Jenner and Katy Perry have all been in her shoes

Precedent: Demi isn’t the first celebrity facing accusations of having appropriated the hairstyle. Marc Jacobs, Kylie Jenner and Katy Perry have all been in her shoes

Some wondered why the star had opted to sport the do at all, with one of them writing: ‘Didn’t Demi Lovato get the memo about dreadlocks? I don’t understand why this is still happening tbh.’ 

Others, however, debated whether Demi is actually wearing locks at all in the video, or if her hair is merely separated into twists.

One person tweeted photos of a woman wearing well-defined locks next to a picture of Demi with her No Promises hair, claiming the two dos looked different. ‘Not dreads,’ she added.

Demi isn’t the first celebrity facing accusations of having appropriated the hairstyle. 

Marc Jacobs was slammed last year for having his models wear locks on the runway – and ultimately dismissed the backlash as ‘nonsense’.

Other stars have encountered the same issue with different dos, such as Kylie Jenner and her cornrows. Katy Perry faced similar accusations for sporting baby hairs in her 2014 This Is How We Do video, while the hairstyle is typically popular among the Latina and African American communities.

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