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Adele admits she “didn’t read the room” when she posted a picture of herself wearing Bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini to Instagram.
The image sparked backlash, with some fans accusing the singer of cultural appropriation.
Notting Hill Carnival was formed to celebrate Caribbean culture at a time when black Britons were being racially targeted.
Speaking to Vogue about the controversy, Adele said: “I could see comments being like, ‘the nerve to not take it down’, which I totally get. But if I take it down, it’s me acting like it never happened. And it did.
“I totally get why people felt like it was appropriating.
“If you don’t go dressed to celebrate the Jamaican culture – and in so many ways we’re so entwined in that part of London – then it’s a little bit like, ‘What you coming for, then?’”
She added: “I didn’t read the f**king room. I was wearing a hairstyle that is actually to protect Afro hair. Ruined mine, obviously.”
At the time, Adele, 33, received support for many Black celebrities, including Jamaican artist Popcaan and singer Alexandra Burke.
In the interview Adela also addressed her stunning seven stone weight loss for the first time.
She said that she became addicted to exercise following her divorce from husband from Simon Konecki, with whom she shares eight-year-old son Angelo.
“It was because of my anxiety,” she said.
“Working out, I would just feel better. It was never about losing weight, it was always about becoming strong and giving myself as much time every day without my phone. I got quite addicted to it. I work out two or three times a day.”
Speaking about her marriage she added: “It just wasn’t right for me anymore. I didn’t want to end up like a lot of other people I knew. It wasn’t miserable miserable, but I would have been miserable had I not put myself first. But, yeah, nothing bad happened or anything like that.”
The songwriter has found new love with American sports agent Rich Paul.