Shawn Mendes is facing backlash after posting a snap to Snapchat in which he joked he had an afro, which some fans are claiming was “racist.”
The controversy began after Mendes took to the social media app on December 12 to post a selfie showing his hair standing on end, where he then joked in the caption that his big hair looked like an afro.
Shawn fan @MTV_ShawnMendes uploaded a screen shot of Mendes’ recent Snapchat upload to Twitter, in which the singer can be seen sporting some seriously big hair alongside the caption, “I have an afro! lmao.”
But while Mendes’ upload seemed pretty innocent, Shawn’s snap was quickly met with backlash from a number of fans on social media, some of whom accused Mendes of being “racist” for comparing his hair to an afro.
AFRO hahahahaha ???? pic.twitter.com/Bb83ivaPOi— Vote Shawn Mendes (@MTV_ShawnMendes) December 12, 2016
“Not @ Shawn saying he has an afro,” @goldlauren hit back over Mendes’s controversial Snapchat photo, while @oyinakinwumi tweeted out in response, “What’s so funny about having [an] Afro, Shawn?”
Other social media users also chimed in on Mendes’s snap, claiming that Shawn’s joke about his hair was “racist.”
But while some social media users slammed Shawn for what they called his “racist” photo, other fans were quick to rush to Shawn’s defense over the snap, which seemed to be pretty innocent, posting messages of support to the singer amid the controversy that surrounded his widely debated Snapchat upload.
A number of Mendes’ fans were quick to defend the singer against the “racist” claims on social media, showing their support for the “Stitches” singer through the hashtag #RespectShawn.
“Shawn is such a humble and down to earth kid. Saying ‘I have an afro’ is not racist, and he’s not using it in an offensive way #RespectShawn,” Mendes fan @mercysalvatore hit back amid the “racist” backlash, while @ITSMENDESWORLD tweeted out in support of Shawn, “If you think that Shawn is a ‘Racist’ for saying ‘I have an afro’ you should use your brain more often. He is NOT. #RespectShawn.”
“Shawn [Mendes] is one of the most sweetest people ever. I know for sure he wasn’t trying to be racist. He respects everyone. #RespectShawn,” @ojustakidinlove added alongside the hashtag, and @overatlantic wrote in response to Mendes’s photo, “This is in no way Shawn trying to be racist he would never intentionally discriminate against another race pls stop.”
But while thousands of fans rushed to Shawn’s defense, others acknowledged that Mendes’s upload could have been misconstrued as offensive amid the waves of backlash.
“I love Shawn, although it is not racist, I can see how people may be offended,” Mendes fan @boatmansus tweeted amid the racist accusations as fans continues to slam the “Treat You Better” singer for the photo, claiming that Mendes “shouldn’t have used the word afro to describe his curls.”
“Okay you’re offended Shawn said he had an afro,” Mendes supporter @cakebcy wrote amid the Twitter controversy, “but did you ever f*****g think he didn’t understand that was offensive?”
Shawn has so far yet to comment on the backlash that’s surrounded his afro Snapchat upload, although Mendes has taken to social media in the hours that followed the “racist” controversy to tell is more than 8 million Twitter followers that he was watching the movie Arrival.
“Just watched Arrival and it was probably the most stimulating & exciting movie [I’ve] ever watched,” Shawn tweeted on December 12 as fans continued to slam him for what they described as his “racist” post. “So genius and well executed.”
Mendes then returned to social media on December 13 to urge fans to tune in to his Instagram live stream, but he did not comment on the “racist” controversy.
What do you think of the backlash surrounding Shawn Mendes’s afro hair joke? Do you agree with fans claiming the photo was “racist?”
[Featured Image by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]