Justin Bieber at the Grammy Awards on February 15. The singer debuted dreadlocks at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, April 5 (UPI) -- Canadian singer Justin Bieber is facing criticism for wearing his hair in dreadlocks.
The 22-year-old recording artist came under heavy fire from fans after debuting his new look at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Awards, where he was nominated for three awards.
Bieber previewed his dreadlocks on social media before attending the awards show in Inglewood, Calif. He was filmed discussing his look with Big Sean backstage, saying, "[People say] you wanna be black and all that stuff, I'm like, 'It's just my hair.'"
Many social media users accused the singer of cultural appropriation, with one fan writing, "Why isn't anyone calling out justin bieber bc of his dread locks?" Others pointed out that actress Zendaya, who is biracial, faced criticism for wearing dreadlocks.
"When zendaya had dreads people were saying she 'smells like weed' but when justin bieber does the media loves it?" one user tweeted, referencing Giuliana Rancic's infamous comments about Zendaya's hairstyle.
Bieber defended reality star Kylie Jenner last year after she came under similar fire for wearing her hair in cornrows. The singer, who wore cornrows himself in January, told fans, "Saying she's racist because she wants her hair in braids is ridiculous."
Justin Bieber previewed his dreadlocks before attending the iHeartRadio Music Awards. Photo by Justin Bieber
The "What Do You Mean" singer walked away with Male Artist of the Year and Best Fan Army at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. He last released the album Purpose in November, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.