Florence Pugh apologises after fan calls her out for cultural appropriation

‘I could see how black culture was being so obviously exploited,’ says British actor

Florence Pugh has apologised for appropriating minority cultures when she was a teenager after a fan called her out on Instagram.

In a statement shared on social media on Friday, the British actor revealed she disrespected other cultures at the age of 18 and that she hadn’t heard the term cultural appropriation until a friend at the time called her out on the way she’d styled her hair in the tight braids, which originate from African culture.

“She began to explain to me what cultural appropriation was, the history and heartbreak over how when black girls do it they’re mocked and judged, but when white girls for it, it’s only then perceived as cool,” wrote Pugh.

“It was true. I could see how black culture was being so obviously exploited.”

Pugh went on to explain how she was defensive at the time, which she now recognises as a sign of her own “white fragility”.

The Little Women star also opened up about how she went through a phase of applying henna to her body after an Indian shop owner showed her how to do so.

“There wasn’t a summer where I didn’t henna my hands, feet, my family’s hands and feet, my friends – I was obsessed,” she recalled.

In 2017, Pugh notes that henna and bindis “became a trend” on the high street, and she lamented how brands sold these items without educating customers on their origin.

“A culture was being abused for profit,” she wrote.

“I thought because I was taught about [henna] differently, I was an exception.

“And here’s the problem. I wasn’t actually being respectful in how I was using it. I wore this culture on my terms only, to parties, at dinner. I too was disrespecting the beauty of the religion that had been taught to me those years ago.”

Finally, the 24-year-old explained how a fan had recently called her out on Instagram for appropriating Rastafarian culture as a 17-year-old.

“I was reminded of a photo when I was 17. I braided my hair and painted a beanie with the Jamaican flag colours and went to a friend’s house; proud of my Rastafarian creation. I then posted about it the next day with a caption that paraphrased the lyrics to Shaggy’s song ‘Bombastic’.”

Pugh added that she is “ashamed of so many things” with regards to that story.

At the time I honestly did not think that I was doing anything wrong,” she wrote.

“Growing up as white and privileged allowed me to get that far and not know.

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“I am truly sorry to all of you that were offended for years or even just recently.”

Pugh concluded her statement by explaining that she takes full responsibility for her previous actions.

“I cannot dismiss the I actions I bought into years ago, bit I believe that we who were bling to such things must acknowledge them and recognise them as our faults, our ignorance and our white privilege and I apologise profusely that it took this long.”

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