FILM & TV Florence Pugh Apologises For Cultural Appropriation After Wearing Corn Rows At 17

Florence Pugh Apologises For Cultural Appropriation After Wearing Corn Rows At 17

Florence Pugh has apologised for appropriating minority cultures by wearing corn rows and bindis when she was younger. 

The 24-year-old star issued a lengthy statement on social media in which she discussed wearing the tight braids, which originate from Africa and the Caribbean.

Pugh implied reference to recent Black Lives Matter protests that have sparked further conversations about racism and appropriate behaviours, commenting the ‘last four weeks have been huge’, and explaining she’s been learning a ‘tidal wave of information’ that she wasn’t previously aware of, despite the fact it was ‘always there’.

Pugh said she’d tried her best to educate herself, through reading, listening, signing petitions and donating to appropriate causes, but stressed ‘we have to look at ourselves and see how we were adding to this problem’.

She recalled a moment last year in which a fan had called out a picture of her from when she was 17, in which she wore the corn rows.

In her statement, Pugh commented:

That summer, red carpets were full of famous, white women with either one side of their hair shaved or braided. I remember in every magazine, there was a ‘How To Do It Yourself!’ version.

She explained she’d never heard the term ‘cultural appropriation’ until she showed a friend the hairstyle at 18 and learned that the braids had been banned at her friend’s school because of the issue.

Pugh wrote:

She began to explain to me what cultural appropriation was, the history and heartbreak over how when Black girls do it they’re mocked and judged, but when white girls for it, it’s only then perceived as cool. It was true. I could see how Black culture was being so obviously exploited.

Pugh reflected on how she enjoyed adopting Indian styles from an Indian shop owner she visited regularly as a child, explaining ‘there wasn’t a summer where I didn’t henna my hands, feet… Over the summer of 2017, henna and Bindis became a trend… No one cared about the origin, a culture was being abused for profit’.

Pugh’s statement acknowledged how the fan called her out for appropriating Rastafarian culture, and she says she is now ‘so ashamed’ of her actions, which at the time saw her painting a beanie with the colours of the Jamaican flag and sharing a picture of herself with a caption that ‘paraphrased the lyrics to Shagg’s song ‘Boombastic’.

A tweet shared online appears to show the picture in question:

Pugh’s post continued:

At the time I honestly did not think that I was doing anything wrong. Growing up as white and privileged allowed me to get that far and not know… Stupid doesn’t even cut it, I was uneducated, I was unread…

Black, Indian, Native American and Asian cultures and religions are constantly used and abused every new shopping season.

I am truly sorry to all of you that were offended for years or even just recently. I cannot dismiss the I 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 apologise profusely that it took this long.

Pugh shared the post with the caption ‘to see change I must be part of the change’, and she has since received comments from her followers praising her for acknowledging her past mistakes and for her efforts to further educate herself.