Florence Pugh Apologizes for Her Past "Cultural Appropriation" Actions

"To see change I must be part of the change," the actress shared on Instagram, alongside a lengthy statement about her past actions with cultural appropriation.
By Alyssa Morin Jun 27, 2020 3:31 PMTags
Florence Pugh, 2020 Oscars, Academy Awards, Red Carpet FashionsDavid Fisher/Shutterstock

Florence Pugh is taking a good look in the mirror.

The Little Women actress recently reflected on her past actions with cultural appropriation, and how she's learning from her mistakes.

"Like many, I've read, listened, signed, donated, read again, ssh'd my white fragility and really wanted to trace instances in my life where i have been guilty," she wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. "Whether big actions or small, We HAVE to look at ourselves and see how we were adding to this problem."

The 24-year-old actress shared several instances in which she's been part of the "problem," including when she had styled her hair into cornrows, gotten henna and wore bindis.

"One part I have identified in my own actions is cultural appropriation, which came to my attention when a fan last year pointed out a picture of me I had posted back when I was 17," she shared.

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Florence explained that, at the time, she styled her hair in cornrows after seeing so many "famous, white women" wearing their "hair shaved or braided." She soon struck up a conversation with her friend and photographer about her new hairstyle.

The actress recalled being shocked after learning that cornrows were banned from her friend's school. She remembered her friend detailing the history of the hairstyle.

"[My friend] 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," Florence wrote.

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She continued, "It was true. I could see how Black culture was being so obviously exploited. I was defensive and confused, white fragility coming out, plain and simple."

Florence also reflected on her use of henna and wearing bindis as a kid after she became close with an Indian shop owner.

"She was excited to share her culture and I was excited to learn," the Little Women actress explained of her bond with the shop owner. "There wasn't a summer where I didn't henna my hands, feet, my family's hands and feet, my friends—I was obsessed."

She later realized that "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," Florence said. "I thought because I was taught about it differently, I was an exception..."

Adding, "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."

Before closing her statement, Florence issued an apology to anyone she's hurt.

She wrote, "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."

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