Pharrell’s finally getting his mainstream glory for the work he’s put in for over two decades, but with praise comes criticism. And he’s getting his fair share of the latter.
He just recouped from the Girl album cover controversy, his "Black being a spirit, not a color" remarks in GQ and his “new Blacks” explanation in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Now, there's yet another controversy brewing with the release of his ELLE UK cover that has the Native American community in an uproar.
On the July issue of ELLE UK, the super producer dons a Native American headdress. The glossy released the photos on their site with the caption, "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.”
A stream of offended commenters quickly filled up the comment section of ELLE’s Facebook page.
A few of their remarks:
"Seriously? When is enough already. Stop using Aboriginal and Native American cultural attire as a fashion prop. If the NFL and other organizations realize that this inappropriate why cannot the fashion world. A headdress is a not a fashion accessory.
This picture Depicts the beneficiaries of the North American Genocide mocking us by mimicking our culture through tried stereotypes that were used to dehumanize us, this is 2014 racism must end Unless you want me to do black face,,,,,,,Racial equality for everyone or no one
This is so wrong. I know people who are non Native don’t get it, it’s obvious by the comments and the picture…this hurts people. It’s not okay to take a item from any culture/ race to be used as a prop or fashion statement. It’s just a pure display of disrespect. Don’t tell us to get over it or that it’s not a big deal because it is. If you had to go through what Native people had to go through and are still experiencing to this day, I’m sure you would feel different."
Pharrell got wind of the backlash and promptly apologized in a statement.
“I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry.”
ELLE has yet to respond to the backlash.
(Photo: Elle Magazine)