Commentary: Coachella confuses appropriation for style

Karla Rendon, Arts Editor

The past two weekends gave music enthusiasts the chance to see their favorite musicians in Indio during the annual music festival, Coachella.

While crowd favorites such as Arcade Fire, Outkast and Queens of the Stone Age were in attendance, so were people wrongfully sporting cultural symbols of importance such as bindis and Native American headdresses for the sake of fashion.

Among the famous faces who disgraced the sacred symbols were Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner and Vanessa Hudgens, who all strutted their degradation for the Hindu community with bindis on their foreheads.

The significance behind the bindi is that it is placed between the eyebrows, on a spot known to the Hindu community to be their sixth chakra, their third eye, and the seat of concealed wisdom.

Other events when a bindi is significantly present is when it symbolizes marriage and guarantees the sanctity of the institution of marriage.

Another Coachella cultural appropriation favorite is the use of Native American headdresses and warbonnets.

While some festival goers think the feathers will go cute with their tribal printed outfit and adorable flower crowns, they completely disregard the importance the feathers are to the Native American community.

Eagle feathers are symbolically presented with respect and honor after one earns it.

Some communities present them through ceremonies when a child enters adulthood, and others award the eagle feathers as an event of deep significance.

Those opposed to the mockery of the Native American symbols of significance as an accessory to wear at Coachella took to Twitter to voice their revulsion.

Hashtags such as #NativeAppropriation and #DontTrendOnMe were used followed by their expression of disgust.

Although making a fashion statement is of most importance when it comes to the festival, it should be no excuse for people to commit cultural appropriation.

The use of sacred symbols of other cultures for the sake of fashion must stop as well as the mindset that it is meant to be fashionable rather than offensive.

Karla Rendon, a sophomore journalism major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at

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