Black Ink Crew criticised for 'cultural appropriation' of haka

A US television show has been criticised for "cultural appropriation" of the haka.

The reality series Black Ink Crew follows the daily operations and staff dramas at a tattoo shop in Harlem, New York.

In its most recent episode, which aired on April 23 in the US, the cast travelled to Hawaii for a wedding and the men were taken to "learn a traditional Haka dance in the middle of the woods".

Once there, they're taught how to perform the Ka Mate haka by a local.

"We have to learn the Hawaiian way of dancing, it's traditional," Ceaser Emanuel, one of the Black Ink Crew cast members, says.

"Listen fellas, I brought you out here to get a traditional kind of feel of Hawaii. He's going to show us the traditional way of dancing for your wedding."

A video clip of the group's final performance of the haka was uploaded to Instagram, where it was quickly labelled as "disgusting" and "disrespectful".

"What did I just watch! As a Māori person I find this incredibly disgusting! Black Americans of all people should realise how hurtful it is to have your culture stripped away, imitated and made out to be lesser than," one commenter wrote.

"Why is no one commenting about how disrespectful this is? Black Americans are the first to comment on white people's appropriation of their culture, yet you turn around and do the exact same thing to a minority nation. The words were incorrect, you have no idea of the meaning of this haka nor do you understand the importance of a haka," another person says.

"This is cultural appropriation and needs to be taken down. The complete lack of respect is astounding for people who should know first hand how cultural appropriation deeply affects the culture it’s used against," a third person wrote.

Although the post was flooded with comments accusing the series of cultural appropriation, some commenters called their performance "awesome" and said they "loved it".

"Good to see them getting along, and learning haka dance is beautiful and strong," one person wrote.

Black Ink Crew is yet to comment on the backlash.