Award-winning rapper Cardi B said sorry for a Hindu-inspired photo shoot for takkies on the cover of Footwear News magazine.
Tweeps expressed offence at the “culturally inappropriate” move by the Bodak Yellow hitmaker.
She was criticised on social media for appearing to mimic Hindu goddess Durga in a promo campaign launched on behalf of her new collaboration with Reebok.
Durga – defined as the principal goddess of war, strength and protection – is traditionally depicted as having numerous arms. In the shoot, Cardi manoeuvred her arms into eight different positions while holding a bright red pair of sneakers.
The star, 28, went on Instagram to address the controversy, saying she should have done her research ahead of the shoot.
She said: “When I did the Reebok shoot the creative told me I’d be a goddess that represents strength, femininity and liberation, and that is something I love, that I’m all about and I thought it was dope.
“If people think I offended their culture or religion I want to say I’m sorry - that was not my intent. I would not want anyone to disrespect my religion, with people dressed as the Virgin Mary or Jesus, as long as they do it in a beautiful and graceful way.”
A fan wrote that “Cardi [thinking] she compares to or even has any remote similarity to our goddess makes me sick”.
She also got flak for wearing shoes near a Hindu god, which is “considered disrespectful”.
One follower wrote: “As an Indian and a Hindu I am not offended by the post. There is nothing wrong with it.”