A petition addressed to Adele, President Obama, and Billboard on Change.org demands that the singer admit that she has “little talent” and is succeeding mainly because of her white privilege.
“Adele sold over 3.38 million copies of her album ‘25′ and the media is praising her as if Adele’s success has everything to do with talent,” reads the petition, written by Rhianna Jones.
The petitioners also “demand that Adele donates her money to African-American causes such as #Blacklivesmatter.”
It’s not clear why exactly the petition is also addressed to President Obama — perhaps Ms. Jones is outraged that the leader of the free world hasn’t pushed the less important issues like ISIS aside to deal with the more serious ones like a singer’s being white and successful at the same time. (I mean, would an executive order requiring Adele to admit she is only successful because she is white and give away her money to people who are not white in order to stay in the country really be too much to ask?)
Honestly, Adele is an interesting target for this kind of criticism. First of all, despite the fact that some might think this would be impossible for a white person, Adele actually had a pretty tough upbringing: Her father was an admitted
who walked out
on the family when she was just three years old. Second — white or not — hardly anyone thinks of Adele as having the typical look of a successful female performer. Whether someone is calling her fat
or asking her how she manages to handle weighing more than others in her industry, any discussion of her image concerns how different
she looks and how tough
it must be to look that way.
Although Jones’s petition had just 31 supporters at the time of publication, its very existence is ridiculous enough — and for so many reasons. After all, even if Adele did
have a privileged upbringing and was
a size 0 with D-cups, saying that she has just “a little talent” is objectively wrong. “A little talent” is the kind of phrase you use to describe someone who had the best voice in the high-school choir before going on to realize she needed to get a real job. Fan or not, anyone with ears and the ability to know what words mean would have to admit that Adele falls into a different category.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.