LOONA’s New MV Is Sparking Debates Over Indian Cultural Appropriation—Here’s What Each Side Is Saying

Some see this as Indian cultural appropriation while others disagree, and each side is explaining their reasoning.

LOONA just released a new music video teaser for their upcoming title track, “PTT (Paint the Town),” and fans are debating whether the members’ attire could be considered appropriative of Indian culture.

Two distinct headpieces from the “&3” teaser are being examined by K-Pop fans: the piece worn by Hyunjin

LOONA’s Hyunjin | loonatheworld/YouTube

… and the piece worn by Vivi.

LOONA’s Vivi | loonatheworld/YouTube

Indian fans across social media have expressed mixed opinions on the adornments. Some are certain that Hyunjin and Vivi’s headpieces are culturally appropriative because of their similarity to the maang tikka and matha patti—two traditional South Asian jewelry pieces.

| Banga Studios

A maang tikka is a piece of forehead jewelry made up of a chain and pendant. A matha patti is a more elaborate version of this style, featuring bold bands of precious metals and jewels.

| Weddings Only

Both are considered integral parts of the solah shringar: a series of adornments Indian brides wear for their weddings. Traditionally, these adornments form rituals that help brides transcend into the power of marriage.

Since these pieces have cultural significance, many fans say that Hyunjin and Vivi’s headpieces in the music video teaser are offensive and should not have been worn. However, some have differing opinions.

There are several Indian fans on social media who say that while Hyunjin and Vivi’s headpieces do appear to be inspired by maang tikkas and matha pattis, they believe this should be considered cultural appreciation rather than cultural appropriation.

While the solah shringar did originally have strong ties to Hinduism and spirituality, some say it’s become purely about beauty these days rather than cultural significance. As such, some feel that these headpieces are more of an aesthetic choice than a cultural one. Fans who hold this viewpoint, therefore, don’t believe that LOONA’s choice of jewelry is offensive.

That aside, some fans disagree with both of these viewpoints entirely. According to another group of Indian Orbits, Hyunjin and Vivi’s headpieces may not be considered inspired by maang tikkas or matha pattis at all. These fans see closer proximity to ancient Greek or Roman headpieces than traditional Indian jewelry.

However, since BlockBerry Creative has already announced that LOONA’s new title track, “PTT (Paint the Town),” will have Bollywood (Hindi cinema) influences, many fans believe that it’s more likely the company was aiming to emulate Indian cultural dress.

| loonatheworld/YouTube

Given that there are many conflicting viewpoints, some are urging others to consider the opinions of all Indian K-Pop fans rather than accepting one perspective and invalidating others.

Some fans have decided to email BlockBerry Creative over the issue, but the company is yet to address the discussions.


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