Beyonce has received a warm and very loud welcome from her support act Stan Walker and her crew with a traditional Haka after her Auckland show on October 19. But while her spontaneous and enthusiastic reaction has impressed her Kiwi fans, some there are those who thought she was being disrespectful to the culture.
Haka is the traditional ancestral war dance of the Maori people of New Zealand, which is intended to intimidate opponents or honour distinguished guests.
After the U.S. superstar’s show in Auckland on Saturday, Walker led the star’s local crew in giving their distinguished guest a very traditional welcome.
Beyonce wasn’t expected to join, but the group’s passionate performance was so contagious that she had to join in the fun as well. She might not know the words, but she showed as much gusto by imitating the act.
She stomped her feet and slapped her sides as she distorted her face and stuck out her tongue, copying the men performing before her.
It looked like she was so delighted with the gift of performance she was given by her Kiwi support act and crew that she jumped for joy and clapped hard after it was finished. She uploaded the video on her YouTube channel on Friday.
While she impressed her fans with the whole exchange, she has also inadvertently offended some Kiwi people with her reaction. Apparently, women aren’t allowed to do the haka, a belief that is disputed by other Kiwis.
“Did no one talk to her about cultural sensitivity. Was a bit strange,” YouTube user Jenny Pfister wrote.
“in maori society if you challenge a haka back its a sign of disrespect, but i guess you cant expect a foreigner to know that,” account name Benjamin Harris added.
“If a regular woman does the haka, she’ll get ripped a new one and won’t have it let down until the day she dies. Beyonce performs it and we should feel honoured? Thanks for the laugh,” Kyle Ruka wrote on the Facebook page of Bro in the Know.
But dissenting opinions online are abundant as well.
“Since when are women not allowed to do the haka? Woman have hakas too – just different to the men’s,” Jo Cartwright added on the same page.
“Oh please, Beyonce joining in on the haka wasn’t disrespectful, she truly soaked it up and embraced it! Get over yourselves,” Katie Harris on Twitter wrote.
“How would an American know that imitating a haka while it’s being performed is disrespectful to Maori?” YouTube account holder Karl Ward noted.
Whether Beyonce should or should have not done the haka, it’s clear that the Grammy-winning star meant no disrespect. She appeared like she truly enjoyed and appreciated the gesture. As a number of people online said, Bey even showed a great deal of respect to the culture with her obvious admiration to the act.
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