Justin Bieber brought back his dreadlocks in new pictures, which is also bringing back the cultural appropriation criticism he faced for the hairstyle five years ago.
The famously swoosh-haired singer debuted his new look via Instagram on Sunday and Monday (April 26) with selfies from his tropical vacation. While rapper Lil Gnar, who wears his hair in multi-colored dreads, complimented his look by commenting “Dreads goin up,” Bieber’s critics lit up the comments section with complaints that he hadn’t learned his lesson from the last time he wore his hair like this.
The global pop sensation previously wore dreadlocks in 2016 after releasing his fourth album Purpose. At the time, Bieber responded to the backlash in an Instagram video, jokingly saying, “‘Dude you gonna do anything with your hair, or are you just gonna leave it like that, dude?’ Yeah, some girl came up to me and she was like, ‘I love you, Justin, but like, that’s like my least favorite hairstyle of yours.'” He captioned the April 2016 clip “Being weird is fun’ if u r not weird I don’t like you.”
Some fans praised the return of “Dreadstin,” but one Instagram user claimed “this is cultural appropriation… I know you can do better,” while another wrote, “didnt you say you were educating yourself about black culture so what is this foolery.” Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more Black Americans at the hands of police that sparked nationwide Black Lives Matter protests last summer, Bieber made it loud and clear about how much he’s been “inspired by” and “benefitted off of Black culture,” pointing to his style of singing, dancing, performing and dressing. In an Instagram note from June 2020, the 27-year-old artist promised to use his platform “to speak up about racial injustice and systemic oppression, and to identify ways to be a part of much needed change.”
He expanded on his education about Black history — which he claimed to not have learned while growing up in Canada — during his first-ever Clubhouse chat last month, talking about including snippets of historic speeches and letters by Martin Luther King Jr. in his Billboard 200 No. 1 album Justice. Bieber addressed the controversial addition of his “MLK Interlude” on Clubhouse, saying he wanted to “amplify” the late civil rights leader’s “incredibly touching speech” with his platform. “I want to keep growing and learning about just all social injustices and what it looks like for me to be better, what it looks like for my friends to be better. And I know I have a long way to go,” he said in March.
Read reactions to his controversial hairstyle below:
now why did justin bieber get dreadlocks and why does he keep getting a pass pic.twitter.com/lTis4w2J7X
— bea🧣RED TV WEEK (@mytearsrichocet) April 25, 2021
Not justin bieber featuring MLK on his album completely unprovoked, then b-lining to grinch finger dreads post haste. pic.twitter.com/9MmKTPOOnf
— RebekaDawn✨ (@RebekaDawn) April 26, 2021
justin sweetheart you have to understand that to support black people and the anti racism movement you have to be coherent to what you preach and that means not doing cultural appropriation ever
dreadlocks do not look good on you @justinbieber
— leevea | ✨ (@nseidenadaoxe) April 26, 2021
I regret to inform you all that justin bieber appears to have gotten white boy dreadlocks pic.twitter.com/PmqbUbu9dE
— CPL (@catpee3) April 26, 2021
Justin Bieber has moved into a white people dreadlocks phase. I am indefinitely withdrawing my support for the pop singer until this misadventure concludes.
— PPV (@PPVJulian) April 26, 2021