The actress discussed instances in which she wore cornrows, bindis, and henna.

By Kimberly Truong
Jun 29, 2020 @ 10:29 am
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Florence Pugh issued a lengthy apology for having participated in cultural appropriation.

In a post on Instagram, Pugh said she's been reflecting over the last four weeks amid the world "trying to make change," acknowledging the "tidal wave of information" that's come her way.

"Like many, I've read, listened, signed, donated, read again, sssh'd my white fragility and really wanted to trace instances in my life where I have been guilty," she wrote, pointing out her past instances of cultural appropriation, which she says a fan pointed out to her last year, referencing a photo she posted when she was 17.

The 24-year-old actress admitted to having worn cornrows, as well as bindis and henna. The actress shared that the first time she had heard of the term cultural appropriation was when she was 18, when she wore cornrows while meeting up with a friend.

"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 do it, it’s only then perceived as cool," Pugh wrote, noting that at the time, she was "defensive and confused."

Pugh also discussed a time when as a child, she "befriended an Indian shop owner," who "would gift me things" and "share her culture with me," adding that she grew up being "obsessed" with henna.

"Over the summer of 2017, Bindis and henna became a trend. Every top high street shop was selling their reimagined versions of this culture," she wrote. "No one cared about the origin, a culture was being abused for profit. I felt embarrassed. I felt sadness for the small family-run Indian shops all over the country, seeing their culture and religion cheapened everywhere."

Recalling another example, Pugh wrote about the photo she posted when she was 17, which a fan pointed out.

"I braided my hair and painted a beanie with the Jamaican flag colors 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,'" Pugh wrote. "I am ashamed of so many things in those few sentences. 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. It’s not wrong to appreciate the beauty of a culture but rebranding them for the sake of a fashion trend and a $ most certainly is," she concluded. "I’m truly sorry to all of you that were offended for years or even just recently. 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."