In 2018’s Eurovision, it’s winner Netta Barzilai who has sparked a fiery public debate.
The Israeli singer, who emerged victorious during Saturday’s competition with her song Toy, is being accused of cultural appropriation by some viewers.
These critics have pointed to Barzilai’s use of East Asian elements in her costume and staging, including her traditional kimono-style dress, her twin-bun hairstyle, and the maneki-neko waving cat toys featured in the background.
— ellie (@eleanorbate) May 12, 2018
israel winning with this cultural appropriation bullshit……. are you kidding me…… i watch eurovision one time and it’s trashAdvertisement
— Riley J. Dennis (@RileyJayDennis) May 12, 2018
WHY is no one talking about the cultural appropriation in Netta’s performance? That was not cool at all. #eurovision
— Ella (☆_☆) (@Ellahhelena) May 13, 2018
So we’re all okay with Israel’s performance are we? And that make up? And that clear cultural appropriation and orientalism? And her doing the funky chicken?
— Heather Parry (@HeatherParryUK) May 12, 2018
when people said eurovision was gay culture i thought they were talking about the catchy pop songs and camp outfits but apparently the real overlap is cultural appropriation and casual racism being just fine so long as they’re kitsch
— moth dad (@innesmck) May 12, 2018
— Martyn Kelly (@martynkelly) May 12, 2018
Barzilai has previously expressed her affection for Japanese culture, especially animated series Pokémon which is referenced in her winning song.
Toy which was inspired by the #metoo movement (lyrics include, “I’m not your toy, you stupid boy”), scored an impressive 529 points at the finale of the 63rd annual contest in Lisbon, beating major rivals including Cyprus and Germany.
“I’m so happy thank you so much for choosing different,” the 25-year-old told the roughly 200 million worldwide viewers. “Thank you so much for celebrating differences between us. Thank you so much for celebrating diversity. This is my country, next time Jerusalem!”
Australia’s entry, We Got Love, sung by Jessica Mauboy, placed 20th out of 26 entries.
Barzilai is yet to respond to the criticism of her outfit.
Watch the clip below and tell us, do you think she has something to answer for?