Blake Lively’s butt picture from Cannes causes backlash on Instagram.

Originally, we thought Cannes would be a good time for American sweetheart Blake Lively. She is after all, pregnant with her second child, and who doesn’t love a mum-to-be on the red carpet?

But all that changed quickly, when the 28-year-old actress, who stars in Woody Allen’s new film, Cafe Society, drew criticism over some controversial comments she made inadvertently defending the accused pedophile.

Since then, things have only gotten worse, with Lively now being accused of cultural appropriation.

Uploading a front and back shot of herself on the red carpet to Instagram on Wednesday, the Gossip Girl star captioned the image, “L.A. face with an Oakland booty”.

L.A. face with an Oakland booty

A photo posted by Blake Lively (@blakelively) on May 17, 2016 at 5:04pm PDT

The caption is lifted from the classic 1992 hit from Sir-Mix-a-Lot, Baby Got Back, and within hours of posting, the photo began to gather a lot of hate online, with many taking to Twitter to share their thoughts on why the caption was inappropriate.

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“Another day, another rich white woman using WOC’s bodies as a punchline and commodity. As if Blake Lively wasn’t the worst already,” wrote @katbee.

@blakelively instead of your Oakland booty tell us more about how Woody Allen empowers women and the abuse allegations are not your business,” added @faaaadumo.

So, in short answer to the question did Blake Lively culturally appropriate at Cannes, the answer is yes. But the follow up is now why it matters.

Now, before we throw our hands up and think the keyboard warriors are being ridiculous and over sensitive once again and say that Lively is just a girl from the 90s who likes an incredibly popular and catchy song, we need to think about this in a broader context.

Blake Lively at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Source: Getty.

For starters, that song starts off with two white women mocking the physicality of a black woman. "They only talk to her, because, she looks like a total prostitute / I mean, her butt, is just so big / I can't believe it's just so round, it's like, out there, I mean— gross / She's just so... black!" After that final line, Sir-Mix-a-Lot appears, exclaiming, "I like big butts!"

Blake Lively at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Source: Getty.

As Ira Madison III explained at MTV, “‘Oakland booty’ refers to a large derrière, an undesirable butt that Jane Fonda workout tape enthusiasts from L.A. wouldn’t be caught dead with. It’s the reason you take SoulCycle classes. It’s why you have Pressed Juicery on speed dial. It’s the type of ass that the Kardashians or white people turn into a circus attraction like Saartjie Baartman.”

Lively with Woody Allen and Kristen Stewart. Source:Getty.

On its own, this probably wouldn't be a big deal. But it's not. The pick-and-mix approach to black culture that Hollywood and its celebrities has is nothing short of jaw dropping.

And there's only so many times we can try to use the "white ignorance get out of jail" card. Because every time that gets whipped out we're basically asking people of colour - who consistently have their culture and history stripped of "the best bits" for white appropriation - to stay quiet and just keep banging their head against the wall.

Lively with the cast of Cafe Society. Source: Getty.

If we allow Blake Lively to say she'll have one order of the Oakland booty, hold the reality of living there, and we dismiss those who choose to disagree, we're subjecting a broad and varied culture to a mere voiceless object.

And at the end of the day, as a white woman, Blake Lively doesn't get to decide what cultural appropriation or racism is because she's never been subjected to it.

It's not fair or right to take the best parts of a culture and simply turn your back, return to your mansion and vacuum of privilege and not give a thought to the worst parts or those that experience that.

Lively was also promoting her soon-to-be-released film, The Shallows...

Video via Sony

 

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