[ View the story "Native Americans to Pharrell: We're #NotHappy" on Storify] Native Americans to Pharrell: We're #NotHappy Criticism online after music artist debuts feather headdress in Elle UK's July issue.
The Stream· Wed, Jun 04 2014 17:28:22
Oh no, Pharrell jumped on the cultural appropriation train. Waiting to see him in a Navajo sweater from UO. #nothappy
Urgh. Why does the fashion industry insist on turning sacred cultural items into fashion props? #NOTHappy @ELLEUK
To the tune of "Happy!"
Cause I'm raciiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiist!
@Pharrell i'm native American and that cover is offensive. THAT IS NOT A EDM WEAR NOW!! It Traditional Headwear worn by Native Americans!!!Alexander F. Spencer
@tamara_hecht it's funny how they use our cultures to be trendy, exotic and controversial. It's disgusting.Johnnie Jae
I love your music @Pharrell - I really wish your stylist had warned you about cultural appropriation w/ the Elle cover. :( still love you!Minty L.A. LongEarth
One Instagram user posted a mock version of Elle UK's cover calling it the "Special insensitive edition":
@oxdxclothing #Misappropriation || @pharrell you're no #IndigenousKingdjyoungnative
Another user created their own satirical apology on behalf of the magazine:
The Non-Apology Apology @ELLEmagazine @ELLEUK & @Pharrell will soon be issuing. #notyourstereotype #notyourmascot
Some came to the defence of the artist by highlighting his Native American roots:
@NativeApprops @Pharrell u r blowing this out of proportion he is Native American...lol stop cutting down our own kind! FYIAmber Blueskyè
Pharrell will go on urban radio & tell y'all abt his Cherokee great grandmother & shake his head at how quickly you jump to conclusionsdream hampton
My mom has 90% Native American DNA and I hereby declare that @Pharrell's headdress @ELLEUK cover is ok w/ me because he's a people of color.Alfonso هيو غو
Is Pharrell gonna go on the radio & tell us to shut up...his wife & mama is Native American or nah?Jai Priestess
But some insisted Pharrell's background did not change the cover's inappropriateness:
@dreamhampton @urbanrezlife if he truly is Cherokee he should know better than to just put one on for show. No respect!Crystal C'Bearing
@Pharrell I agree about unity and I'm against identity policing, but if he wants to identify, he's held to a higher standard.Dr. Adrienne K.
I wonder if the people saying "Pharrell is part Native American" know there are over 500+ tribes in the US. Headdresses didn't belong to allFrank Waln
Hey @Pharrell I'm inviting you to a traditional Sundance so u can learn about the sacrifice that's put in before someone wears a headdressWab Kinew
Pharrell, eagle feathers are not a hat. You have to earn feathers-one at a time-to have the right to wear them. #NOThappyAlana
Pharrell is not the only celebrity to be accused of cultural misappropriation. Recently, music singer
and pop star
created a stir online over their fashion choices.
Fame 101: @AmericanExpress @ELLEmagazine @ELLEUK @Pharrell @gwenstefani #nothappy #donttrendonme #notyourheaddress
over cultural appropriation is ongoing, and predates the latest controversies:
@sunnysingh_nw3 @joshua_eaton @WritersofColour Does a culture have permanent intellectual property rights over it's customs and traditions?Bones
@Bonestotheface All cultures borrow and cross-pollinate. But appropriation has to do with power. @sunnysingh_nw3 @WritersofColourJoshua Eaton
@joshua_eaton Given mass-media it's difficult to separate mimicing a cultural form from denying it's traditional value/legitimacy to others.Bones
How does stopping Gomez wearing a bindi deal with the core issue of prejudice in society? If she stops will society change? @WritersofColourAlan