Indian people

2014 Wiggles song goes viral to stereotype Indians

We are not used to Think of The Wiggles as a site of latent controversy. The Australian children’s music group is best known for their impressive ability to deliver songs to tireless kids about… well, I don’t know. Fruit salads. Hot potatoes. Make the propeller. You understand the basics. Not much to discuss here, except perhaps whether this fruit salad would really be as “delicious” as it is advertised.

But in a very modern turn of events, the Wiggles found themselves in the spotlight for reasons other than their sprucing up of the quality of their fruit salad. This week, an excerpt from a song called “Pappadum” – which was released in 2014 and featured on an episode of “Ready, Steady, Wiggle!” called “Lachy’s Pappadum Party” – has gone viral, and many are questioning its ethnic stereotypes.

In the clip, the Wiggles enlist their then-marketing and events manager Kimberley Stapylton to perform a song – a song they all dressed in traditional Indian clothes to dance and wave around the papadum, which is a thin, round North Indian flatbread (usually used for eating rather than expressing joy.)

There is also a guest in the video: a woman, presumably of Indian origin, who dances without ever singing. (Several Twitter users pointed out that her silence in the video produced an odd atmosphere, as if she was in some sort of “horrified tranceBut The Wiggles clarified that she just wasn’t comfortable with vocals.)

When the video resurfaced – after a woman posted the clip and wrote that it was “not the performance [she] wanted ”- Anthony Field, also known as The Blue Wiggle, quickly apologized and explained the nature of the clip.

“I wrote the song and made the music video in 2014 (which was meant to be a celebration). It was not my intention to be culturally insensitive to the Indian community, or to add value to ethnic stereotypes. My apologies, ”he wrote to a user on Twitter.

And in a statement obtained by HuffPost Canada, The Wiggles further expanded on the band’s initial intentions with the song and accompanying video.

“Over the years, we have been fortunate to collaborate and work with wonderfully diverse artists, musicians, performers and dancers from diverse cultural backgrounds. Through these collaborations, we have had the opportunity to share, explore and celebrate many diverse cultures, ”the statement said.

“Our intention was for the song to be a celebration, not insensitive to the culture. We apologize for any violation caused. The song and video are no longer on our official Wiggles sites and the Wiggles have decided that they will not play it at their concerts in the future. “

Online, the video has been heavily criticized for its framing of Indian culture. While some were quick to respond by saying the video was just an innocent way to introduce young children to Indian culture (which could very well be the intention), others expressed different feelings.

“This is condescending Western European style children’s music with, for no discernible reason, an Indian woman dancing and everyone doing fake Indian things,” a user wrote. “There is no real cultural enrichment going on.”

And another: “There is a guy who is holding a cricket bat and a papadum while wearing clothes from another culture. The whole thing turns another culture into a punchline. There are much better ways to do this, even with fantasy. “

In their statement to HuffPost Canada, the Wiggles made it clear that they would do better in the future.

“We strive to deal with all members of our community – regardless of age, gender, cultural background, religion or sexuality – in a professional, fair and respectful manner, at all times,” they wrote. . “We will strive to ensure that our future songs and collaborations are performed and recorded in an authentic and culturally appropriate manner.”

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