Florence Pugh Apologized for Her Own Actions of Cultural Appropriation
"I apologize profusely that it took this long."
In the past month, amid continued Black Lives Matter protests and the ongoing fight for racial justice, various industries, celebrities, and people in positions of power have been called out for racism. Some celebrities, like Florence Pugh, are getting ahead of these callouts, coming forward about their own contributions to a racist culture in the past and making pledges to do better in the future. On Saturday, Pugh posted a three-slide-long letter on Instagram, reflecting on a few of her own instances of cultural appropriation. "To see change, I must be part of the change," she wrote in the caption.
She started the letter explaining that she has been "learning a tidal wave of information" in the past month and has been trying to post and use her platform for good.
"Like many, I've read, listened, signed, donated, read again, sssh'd my white fragility and really wanted to trace instances where I have been guilty," Pugh wrote.
She went on to explain that, last year, a fan pointed out her act of Rastafarian cultural appropriation in a photo of her when she was 17. In the photo, Pugh was wearing her hair in braids with a beanie that she had painted with the Jamaican flag on it, and she captioned the photo by paraphrasing the lyrics to Shaggy's song "Boombastic."
"At the time, I honestly did not think that I was doing anything wrong," she wrote about that instance. "Growing up as white and privileged allowed me to get that far and not know."
Pugh also detailed instances from times when she wore cornrows and used henna on her hands and feet, writing that a friend first taught her about cultural appropriation when she was 18. "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, and when white girls do it, it's only then perceived as cool," she wrote.
At the time, Pugh wrote that her reaction to this knowledge (and to learning that she couldn't wear cornrows) wasn't great at first. "I was defensive and confused, white fragility coming out plain and simple," she wrote.
Now, however, Pugh is acknowledging the weight of her actions and addressing her faults. "I now need to be aware that people are looking up to me and I must address my own poor actions." She finished by apologizing to everyone she has offended over the years and recently.
"I cannot dismiss the actions I bought into years ago, but I believe that we who are 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," she wrote.