Cardi B Sparks Outrage in India After Posing as Hindu Goddess Durga to Promote Reebok Sneakers

Cardi B later issued a video apology saying she did not intend to disrespect Indian culture with her sneaker promotion.

Rapper Cardi B's new sneaker collaboration with Reebok has stirred up controversy in India. It all started after photos of the 28-year-old rapper posing as the Hindu Goddess "Durga," a promotion for her upcoming sneakers with the footwear brand, started circulating on the internet.

The photo shows Cardi B, like Goddess Durga, having eight hands stretched around her in different positions while she holds a bright red pair of sneakers donning a red Georges Hobeika gown.

Cardi B
Cardi B on the November 2020 issue of Footwear News. Instagram

According to the description on one of the Instagram posts shared by Footwear News, the "WAP" hitmaker was paying homage to the Hindu goddess, "whose symbols of protection and inner strength resonate as much in modern times as they have through the centuries."

"Like Durga, Cardi B is a dominant female voice at a critical time," the caption ⁠read. The rapper also promoted the sneakers on Instagram. "So excited for my sneaker drop this Friday November 13th! Hope you guys love it!," she wrote.

'This is Disrespectful!'

Shortly after the photos went viral across social media platforms, including Twitter, users lashed out at the rapper over her "blasphemous" representation of Goddess Durga. It turns out that Cardi's cleavage-revealing outfit and the fact that wearing footwear while worshipping a deity is considered disrespectful in India. Upset users took to Twitter to express their displeasure.

Here are some of the reactions:

Cardi B Issues Apology

In the wake of the backlash, CardiB posted on apology video as a story on her Instagram feed saying: "A lot of my fans have been telling me that I'm getting dragged through social media.... and they say it's because of my Reebok shoot and saying that I disrespected a Goddess When I did the shoot the creatives told me I was going to represent a Goddess, that she represents strength, femininity and liberation, and that's something that I love and I'm all about, and thought it was dope."

Cardi B apology
A screenshot of the video apology posted by Cardi B on Instagram. Instagram

"But if people think I'm offending their culture or their religion I want to say that was not my intent. I do not like offending anyone's religion; I wouldn't like it if someone did it to my religion. When people dress as Virgin Mary and Jesus, as long as they do it in a beautiful, graceful way.... But I wasn't trying to be disrespectful; maybe I should have done my research. I'm sorry, I can't change the past but I will do more research for the future."