Dua Lipa has issued a statement that seeks to clarify controversy surrounding a picture she shared from her Twitter account.
The pop singer posted a picture of a map of Albania with its eagle emblem and a sentence appearing to suggest that Kosovar-Albanians are an indigenous group.
Lipa, who spent part of her childhood in Kosovo and has Albanian heritage, was then challenged by some who linked her post to the far-right ideology of “Greater Albania”, as the map covers different regions.
Lipa’s tweet followed the publication of a petition that calls for Kosovo to be shown on Apple Maps as an independent nation. The petition was backed by Lipa’s fellow pop star Rita Ora, another British artist with links to Kosovo.
“Would love to see Apple spreading awareness by putting Kosovo on the map! Albania and Kosovo are full of so much beautiful and great talent,” Ora tweeted.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but this status is not recognised by Serbia or its allies such as Russia.
Albanian nationalists claim they settled the country before the Serbs, and say Kosovo is therefore a country of ethnic Albanians.
The claim that Kosovar-Albanians are indigenous to the region has been refuted by Serbian people.
Lipa has now explained the tweet further and said it “was never meant to incite any hate.”
“It makes me sad and angry that my post has been wilfully misinterpreted by some groups and individuals who promote ethnic separatism, something I completely reject,” she wrote.
“Whenever I post about Kosovo, my feed goes crazy, even if it’s about something as joyful as food or music, and I am met with a fierce resistance to the idea of an authentic Kosovan culture.
“We all deserve to be proud of our ethnicity and where we are from. I simply want my country to be represented on a map and to be able to speak with pride and joy about my Albanian roots and my mother country.
She concluded: “I encourage everyone to embrace their heritage and to listen and learn from each other. Peace, love and respect to all.”