Rapper Lil Uzi Vert may be thrilled to have his forehead bejeweled with an implanted pink diamond, but not everyone shares that same sentiment.
While many perceive the body modification to be an expensive flex, others have insinuated the rapper is attempting to appropriate Asian cultures, in particular Hindu.
Questions of appropriation ensued when the 26-year-old tweeted (and later deleted) “I’m just a Average dude” along with screenshots of the 1988 Indian television series “Mahabharat.” Each of the photos featured the show’s characters adorning symbols or drawn-on jewels in the same place as Uzi’s pink diamond.
The photos lead to a heated debate among people on Twitter who each offered up their own take of Uzi’s diamond and his possibly likening himself to “Mahabharat” characters.
“Where r all the people saying cultural appropriation? I guess it doesn’t matter when it’s asian cultures.”
“Making sanatan dharma a accessory? He’s literally mocking my culture,” tweeted one person in response. She further explained that Uzi’s diamond is placed on his “third eye,” which is revered for Hindu Gods.
“I think the “third eye piercing” is dope asf but posting pictures of Indian people with tilak isn’t proving your point and is just misrepresenting the culture/religion.”
The rapper responded to those accusing him of cultural appropriation by tweeting, and deleting, that he was mimicking any particular culture or person.
The rapper spent a reported $24 million on the diamond. A spokesperson for the New York-based jeweler Eliantte & Co. said he made a series of payments over the span of three years.
“Everything started back in 2017. Once he saw the stone, he really fell in love with it and said he’d think about what he wanted to do with it,” Simon Babaev told The Rolling Stone. At the time, Babaev says no one thought Uzi would follow through with implanting the diamond in his forehead.
“We didn’t think he was serious about it, but as he started making payments on the specific stone, he made it clear that he was very serious.”