Pharrell Williams was the latest man to grace the cover of ELLE UK’s July 2014 issue. The 41-year-old singer appeared the special collector’s cover edition in a photo that caused new controversy. On the front page, Pharrell Williams was dressed in a James Long wool sweater and his own jeans and jewelry. The “Come Get It Bae” crooner also ditched his world-famous Vivienne Westwood mountain hat for a traditional Native American headdress with feathers and embroidery, which made him become the target of criticism. Not long after the image from the shoot hit the web, thousands of social media users found it “offensive” and branded it “disrespectful.” Pharrell Williams was then forced to respond to the controversy, releasing a statement that read: “I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry.”
The American singer was not the only person who was accused of cultural appropriation. Last year, Gwen Stefani had to apologize after wearing a traditional First Nation gear in one of her music videos. Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Paul Frank and the band No Doubt have also come under fire in recent years for inappropriately using First Nations symbols or Native American dress as fashion statements.
Pharrell Williams covered the July 2014 issue of Elle UK and was dressed in a knit James Long sweater with his own jewelry. He also sported a feathered headdress – a sacred symbol for Native Americans, which made the mag come under fire. (Photo credit: Doug Inglish/ELLE UK)
Pharrell Williams, who was one of the primo tastemakers in hip hop culture, sported his own jeans with a Native American headdress in the July 2014 issue of Elle UK. However, not everyone was happy with his fashion choice. (Photo credit: Doug Inglish/ELLE UK)
The singer and producer wore his trademark Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hat in another photo shot by photographer Doug Inglish. (Photo credit: Doug Inglish/ELLE UK)