Pharrell Williams Sparks Outrage Over Elle UK Cover

Pharrell Williams, Elle

Pharrell Williams Sparks Outrage Over Elle UK Cover

The musician causes offense by wearing a Native American headdress.

Published June 6, 2014

(Photo: Elle Magazine UK, July 2014)

Looks like Pharrell Williams is back in the dog house. The 41-year-old producer is once again causing a commotion because of what he's chosen to wear on his head, but this time it's a Native American feathered headdress on the cover of Elle UK's July issue. Needless to say, many are not amused and have cried foul on the musician's choice of accessory.

"Continuing our tradition of featuring cult male icons on collector's edition covers (remember Michael Fassbender and Tom Hiddleston) we persuaded ELLE Style Award winner Pharrell to collaborate with us on his best ever shoot," the magazine wrote on its site.

The feathered headdress is traditionally reserved for a tribal chief or warrior and is a sacred piece that's earned rather than used to make a fashion statement. Commenters on as well as the magazine's and Pharrell's Facebook pages have taken the opportunity to educate both on why the cover is so offensive to their culture. The Twitter hashtag #NotHappy (in reference to his hit track "Happy") has also been created so others can share their criticisms over social media.

"How can you do something so stupid and disrespectfulll.. you are not a Chief Pharrell.. The eagle feathers are sacred... Even if you are part Native the headdress is off limits... It's for Warriors and people of the plains culture.. You don't have the right to wear that Pharrell... neither does Cher or Emerson Windy... You guys don't get it.... You will learn the hard way by us Natives telling you so…," wrote Taino Ray.

"I love your music! BUT...please don't insult our Indigenous People by wearing a headdress. They are earned one Eagle feather at a time through acts of selflessness and bravery. Thank you," added Sandy Johnson.

Pharrell has since issued an apology over the controversy saying, "I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry," he said.

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Written by Dorkys Ramos


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