“Papadum, papadum, papadum…”
We get that papadum is probably one of India’s favourite snacks, but to make a song about it is slightly bizarre. A video that has gone viral on social media shows a bunch of Australians singing the “Papadum” song. There is, however, a South Asian woman in the song joining the group chanting the lyrics – yet, she does not say a word. She smiles painfully throughout and dances awkwardly while holding a papadum.
Everyone else in the video also keeps chanting the word “Papadum” repeatedly. At one point, one of the cast members swings a cricket bat while singing the song in what we guess is a way of representing India’s love for cricket.
The song that was written for kids in 2014 to educate them on cultural representation suddenly found a way into desi social media. None of it for good reasons.
The song was written in 2014. It was composed by an Australian musician named Anthony Donald Joseph Field, who is a member of a children’s music group called the Wiggles. Following backlash, Field responded by apologising for being “insensitive” and for adding to stereotypes.
Al, I wrote the song, and directed the clip in 2014 (which was meant as a celebration). It was not my intention to be culturally insensitive to the Indian community, or to add value to ethnic stereotyping. Apologies .
— Anthony Field (@Anthony_Wiggle) October 22, 2020
A few months ago, reality show star Kim Kardashian too found herself on the receiving end of criticism for cultural appropriation after she posted a photo of herself dressed in a colour-block grey outfit, consisting of a crop top and a long skirt. Along with it, she sported gold bangles and a gold maang tika.