I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that celebrities keep misappropriating other cultures like Pharrell did when he wore that Native American headdress on the cover of Elle. On the one hand, it’s clear that celebrities have no idea that their actions are controversial until the backlash starts, which is ridiculous. But on the other hand, the fact that it’s been happening so often provides the opportunity to maybe educate some people so that situations like this can be avoided in the future.
But for as hopeful as I am that change is possible, Pharrell is in no way contributing with his half-assed apology for the Elle cover. He’s just covering his ass, and he’s doing it with pretty much the shortest way possible. Here’s the entirety of his statement to the New York Daily News.
“I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry.”
For what? Honestly, if you don’t know what people are so upset about, then don’t apologize. But to release a statement that’s as devoid of details as this one is proves that he still doesn’t get it. We have to call it an apology because it has the word ‘sorry’ in it, but what it really is is a shrug. Just a way to get detractors off his back so he can move on to his next harebrained statement.
I don’t expect celebrities to know what to do all the time, and I get that there’s a ton of pressure on them not to mess up, but cultural appropriation is a real thing, and addressing an instance of it should take more than fifteen words.