Pharrell Williams apologises for wearing 'red face' Native American headdress on Elle cover
The musician says that he “respects and honours every kind of race, background and culture”
Pharrell Williams has apologised for wearing a feather headdress on the cover of British Elle.
The move prompted a Twitter backlash, triggering a #NotHappy hashtag as fans bemoaned his decision to wear the Native American war bonnet.
“I am genuinely sorry,” Williams told Buzzfeed. “I respect and honour every kind of race, background and culture.”
Elle had originally shown its pride at the styling choice, writing on its website: “We persuaded Elle Style Award winner Pharrell to trade his Vivienne Westwood mountie hat for a Native American feather headdress in his best ever shoot.”
This was shortly changed to: “We persuaded [Pharrell] ... to collaborate with us on his best ever shoot.”
Williams says that he has a Native American heritage. The Indian Country Media Network argue that this doesn’t matter, and that the photo is still offensive.
“But having an American Indian ancestor or relative isn't a license to use that relative's culture spontaneously and without context,” said in a statement on its website.
“Here's another way of looking at it: Many of the people who are appalled by this image are deeply connected to their Native culture and live it every day. If they say the picture is hurtful, it's hurtful, and a Cherokee grandmother doesn't change that.”
The right to wear an eagle-feather ceremonial bonnet is earned over the course of a person’s lifetime and presented as “symbols of honour and respect”.
It is used by only 12 of the United States' 562 federally recognised tribes.
Williams has been the focus of controversy before, having been accused of misogyny over his collaborative hit single with Robin Thicke, "Blurred Lines".
However, he denies the video was sexist or offensive.
"What does the line suggest, 'I know you want it?' Is it sexually suggestive when a car salesman says to a person who buys a car, 'I know you want it?'" he said to Channel 4.
"Does that make it off limits for me to use it in a song, especially when the overarching context is that there are good women who also have bad thoughts?"
"If a good woman can have sexual thoughts, is it wrong for a man to have a correct guess that a woman might want something?"
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Halle Berry takes ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry to court for allegedly trying to make daughter look less African-American
- 4 Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Turkish President: 'Equality between men and women is against nature'
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ferguson decision: Tea Party website mocks Michael Brown's family over T-shirt typo
Michael Brown shooting: Ten things we know – or know better – now the Ferguson grand jury's work is over
Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...
£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...