Sigh. Another day, another awfully bad fashion decision.
Pharrell is under fire for covering Elle UK, the special collector’s edition, in a Native American headdress. And, if you haven’t guess by the title of this article, Native Americans are not happy about it. Pharrell was persuaded by the Elle staff to trade in “his Vivienne Westwood mountie hat for a native American feather headdress,” says the Elle UK website. The statement has since been removed, but you can see it, here.
We must say that it is a stunning image, but, Pharrell should have known better. In case you’re scratching you’re head *no pun intended* on this one, this statement from a commentator pretty much explains why people are so offended:
“To all those who say ‘I don’t see the big deal, he respects native people.’ No..” wrote Facebook user Taylor Red Fox Smith. “Thats just ignorance. NOT EVEN A REGULAR NATIVE WOULD DARE PUT THIS ON UNLESS THEY EARNED EVERY FEATHER IN WHAT IS WORN BY ONLY A CHIEF. Please if ur not native, just stop.”
“I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry,” he said in a statement released by his publicist. The backlash has led to to birth of the Twitter hashtag #NotHappy
Another name for a Native American headdress is a “war bonnet” and was earned through brave deeds. In the past, the feathered hat would be worn into battle as it is said they headpiece would protect the wearer (or worn for ceremonial occasions). They are seen as items of great spiritual and magical importance.
Too soon to drop the cultural appropriation bomb?