• Wed, Jun 4 - 10:09 am ET

Pharrell Wears A Headdress For A Photo, Clap Along If You Feel Like He Didn’t Think This Through

Pharrell ELLE UK Cover July 2014

via Mirror//Doug Inglish

If you thought that Pharrell wearing a Native American feathered headdress on the cover of Elle UK‘s July 2014 issue was the thing to make your jaw drop (I will resist the urge to make any puns about not being “happy” with it because that’s not funny), what’s inside is even more surprising. And here’s a hint about the bombshell: it’s not the fact that a dude landed on the cover of a woman’s mag–Elle UK has been doing a series of male covers and I have the shirtless David Beckham one to prove it.

Pharrell ELLE UK July 2014 Headdress

via Digital Spy//Doug Inglish

If you can tear your eyes away from the photo, and attempt to wrap your head around the fact that they really did put Pharrell in a feathered headdress (accessorized with a pearl necklace) and all of the cultural appropriation that goes along with it, to read the article, you’ll be in for another massive shocker–though thankfully this one probably won’t be called culturally insensitive.

Pharrell reveals that his Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hat, aka that infamous Mountie hat, was not birthed at the Grammy’s:

“I remembered [Malcolm McLaren's] Buffalo Gals video, where he wears the hat. I actually wore it for five years before I was ever photographed in it, it’s just that no-one was paying attention to me at the time.”

What? Are these words he speaks, the truth? That hat and the Grammy’s were a match made in media heaven. I’m not trying to sidestep the whole controversial cultural appropriation thing (but if I think about it too much, I will start to think back to Coachella with feather headdresses and wearing bindis and the whole it’s-called-fashion-not-culturally-insensitive thing, argh). It just seems unbelievable that someone wouldn’t save that hat for a red carpet and risk being photographed out and it ending up in the “Stars Out On The Street” section of a tabloid. (The hat deserves so much better) Plus, I find it hard to believe that the hat was not taken from the Vivienne Westwood archive by a very clever stylist who wanted to ensure that Pharrell would be the talk of the Grammy’s whether he won any awards or not. Take that Lorde.

And if you’re curious, Pharrell did return to his ol’ faithful Mountie hat.

Pharrell ELLE UK July 2014 Mountie Hat

via Mirror//Doug Inglish

There’s our old friend, paired with a lace jacket that I really want it. This photo and the new Mountie hat revelation, almost make me forget about the feathered headdress. Almost. Not quite.

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  • becksss

    Just….. aghhh.

    How can this seriously have got past however many people there must be involved in the process, and nobody said ANYTHING?? It just beggars belief.

  • Crystal LaShae Broadnax

    I find NOTHING wrong with his headdress! In fact, culturally insensitive is a term best left out of the equation as he may very well be able to trace his heritage back to ancestral Native American roots. In fact, many African Americans as well as Caucasian Americans are able to do so- I in fact can trace my own lineage back just 3 generations before my own and find that my great grandfather was full-blooded Creek. But, I digress. My point is that Pharell looks fine both fashion-wise and culturally sensitive speaking.

    • becksss

      You’re making a great leap here by saying “he may well be able to”. That’s not really the point. The point is, he is making somebody else’s (and I say somebody else, because there is nothing that proves he has any Native American heritage at all) culture into a fashion statement. It is making a mockery of what the headdress stands for, and all of the atrocious history that is represented by it.

    • Isla

      I’m sorry I didn’t realize having one Native grandfather makes you the speaker for all NDNs. I’m full blood Lakota and Creek and this is appropriation. Just because you’re okay with it, doesn’t mean we all are. Have a seat.

    • Puhleeese

      So what is your criteria? Do you have to be full blooded or is one parent good enough to qualify? And don’t let me catch you wearing any preppy clothes, because those are my people and you cant appropriate my culture.

  • giguy2002

    Most people complaining likely don’t even know what a Native American is and those professing to be so especially on INET chat boards have no way to validate their hidden behind the keyboard claims anyway. Perhaps people should spend more effort looking at ways to improve society instead of boo-hooing over every little thing. Stop gulping the administration provided and poisoned kool-aid and resist jumping on the government fabricated “politically incorrect” hysteria. Never has there been so much idiocy in all of history as realized in the last 6-8 years reducing society into a congregation of blithering “Oh No You Didn’t” lunatics. It’s a travesty to see how far humanity has progressed towards idiocracy and continues to do so at an unbelievable pace. Get over yourself and get a life….a real life.

  • Penny

    So over the cultural appropriation card. Can’t we all just wear whatever the hell we want? We can’t even like something from a different culture? Get the fuck out of here. I like cowboy boots but I ain’t no cowboy. Cowboy appropriation.

  • Juliana

    This is a really hard subject for me. On the one end, I can totally see how this would be cultural appropriation and how it can be offensive. I most certainly do not support disrespect of different cultures, races, religions, creeds, etc. On the other hand, I think it is possible to take pieces of different cultures and incorporate them into your life in a respectful manner. Where do you draw the line?

    For instance: If an American Indian/Native American headdress cannot be used for fashion, then I would argue that crosses should not be used as a fashion statement either, as that is appropriation of a religion. What about hairstyles and clothing that would be considered Rastafarian in nature? And beyond what you wear, what about popular or “fashionable” practices? For instance, Yoga and/or meditation. There is a religious/cultural background that accompanies those practices. Even things like burning incense.

    From what I can tell, most of the things that enrich our lives are accompanied by certain implications of a culture (often different from our own), but I don’t think that we shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy and appreciate those aspects of those cultures within reason.

    Of course, this magazine cover probably would not be considered within reason, as the company will be making looooots of money off of its distribution…

    But, I digress.