Native to the Game

Pharrell Williams has fans flipping over his new lid.

It’s pretty ironic that “Happy” singer Pharrell Williams is being criticized for his latest choice in headgear, described by Elle U.K. as “an elaborate Native American headdress”; considering the fact that he is Native American.  For the July 2014 special collector’s cover edition of the publication, the musician can be seen looking quite, well… native in the feathery diadem.

Shortly after images from the photo shoot surfaced on the web, Twitter users came together to voice their frustrations under the hashtag #NotHappy. The image was unveiled on the UK magazine’s Facebook page Tuesday, June 3, and within a few hours a lot of Facebook users had called it disrespectful and a mockery of Native American culture, Indian Country Today Media Network reported.

“I really love the Happy song. I am so NOT happy upon seeing this cultural appropriation, though,” Melissa ‘Spider’ Smith commented. “Blatant disrespect to Native people and cultural traditions is really disgusting. As a major magazine, you should already know better.”

Monika Trujillo wrote: “Our Culture is not an accessory! How dare the War Bonnet be worn in the same fashion as the Arby’s 10 gallon monstrosity. Money, fame and wealth cannot make one exempt from or pardoned of a racist act. Color on color crime is on display here. Sorry but that’s how I feel.”

“If this is about culture appreciation…why not hire real native American models? Or an actual chief who has earned the right to wear that headdress?” Sandy Gaitan said. “They can still put Pharrell on the cover somewhere Lol… just not causing controversy by wearing the headdress.”

In response, the 41-year-old platinum-selling artist (who previously spoke to O, The Oprah Magazine about his Native American and Egyptian heritages) told E! News in a statement, “I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture.” “I am genuinely sorry.” Although most headlines or stories on the subject fail to tell the entire story of Williams’ genealogy, we thought we should share the truth about the matter.

Considering that Williams is an upstanding sort of fellow, it is honorable that he apologized for the offense; but let this be a lesson to those who judge before gathering all the facts – the man is simply representing his lineage.


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