Florence Pugh apologizes for past cultural appropriation: ‘I am ashamed’
Florence Pugh says she is “truly sorry” for appropriating cultures in the past.
The 24-year-old actress posted a lengthy statement to her Instagram account on Friday, letting her 1.5 million followers know that she is “ashamed” to look back at some of her past actions of cultural appropriation, which include getting henna tattoos and getting her hair braided into “corn rows.”
The “Little Women” star began her three-page apology by pointing out that the last four weeks have been “huge” in terms of understanding and acknowledging white privilege.
“The world is trying to make change and I’m learning a tidal wave of information that frankly, was always there but I was unaware of. I’ve tried my best to post, learn, pass what I’ve learnt on to others and of course, echo the voices of those who don’t have a platform to share their wisdom,” her apology began.
Pugh wrote that her past missteps were first brought to her attention by a fan calling her out for a photo she posted of herself when she was 17. Pugh called the picture an example of “Rastafarian cultural appropriation.”
“I braided my hair and painted a beanie with the Jamaican flag colours and went to a friend’s house, proud of my Rastafarian creation. I then posted about it the next day with a caption that paraphrased the lyrics to Shaggy’s song ‘Boombastic,’” she explained.
“I am ashamed of so many things in those few sentences,” Pugh admitted.
The actress said it was “cruel” of her to forget about the photo, pointing out that for eight years she had “no idea how many were offended.”
The actress said that “growing up as white and privileged allowed me to get that far and not know,” adding that she was initially “proud” of the braided hairstyle.
In hindsight, Pugh called her decisions “uneducated” and also provided an example of her childhood when she befriended an Indian woman who owned a shop in her native Oxford, England, fitted with fabrics, jewelry, henna and more. She credited this woman with teaching her all about the culture, of which she became “obsessed.”
“There wasn’t a summer where I didn’t henna my hands, feet, my family’s hands and feet,” she wrote.
Pugh went on to write that henna quickly became a societal trend, with major makeup brands profiting off of their own versions of henna sets. At the time, Pugh said she felt sad for her fellow Indian shop owner friend, noticing that the culture was being “abused for profit.” Pugh said she knows now that she was guilty of the same.
“And here’s the problem: I actually wasn’t being respectful in how I was using it. I wore this culture on my terms only, to parties, at dinner. I too was disrespecting the beauty of the religion that had been taught to me those years ago,” her statement continued.
Pugh said she is “truly sorry” to all who have been offended by her in the past and present.
“I cannot dismiss the actions I bought into years ago, but I believe that we who were blind to such things must acknowledge them and recognize them as our faults, our ignorance and our white privilege and I apologize profusely that it took this long.”
Pugh’s apology was met with praise from many followers.
“as a black fan of yours, thank you for speaking up and out. we see the real homies like you out there, and i appreciate your efforts immensely,” one fan wrote.
“Fair play Florence,” another commented, adding: “it takes guts to admit your mistakes but learn you must and go forward.”
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