Florence Pugh has apologised for wearing cornrows when she was 17

Laura Capon
Photo credit: JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

The death of George Floyd and the resulting highlight of the Black Lives Matters movement has left many people reflecting on their own behaviours.

While the likes of YouTuber Shane Dawson have been forced to issue public apologies after being called out for their past racist behaviour, actress Florence Pugh took accountability and shared a lengthy statement reflecting on the times she has been guilty of cultural appropriation.

Explaining that she had spent the past few weeks learning, reading and listening, Florence said that we all "have to look at ourselves and see how we are adding to the problem".

Upon reflection, the actress admitted there were areas in her own life she felt were problematic. "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."

The picture she is referring to is one where she had her hair braided into cornrows, a style she said that white woman had co-opted at the time, "That summer, red carpets were full of famous white women with either one side of their hair shaved or braided," she explained. "I remember in every magazine there was a 'How To Do It Yourself!' version".

Admitting she wasn't aware how this was an example of black culture being exploited until a friend pointed it out her.

In the picture, Florence also explained she was wearing a hat which she had painted with the Jamaican flag colours and had captioned it with Shaggy's Boombastic lyrics.

Confessing she was "ashamed" at how oblivious she was to how many people she "offended" and that growing up "white and privileged" allowed her to get that far in life without knowing it was wrong.

Florence also discussed her obsession with henna, a skill she was taught at 8 years old by "an Indian shop woman in Oxford whom I would visit regularly".

Explaining that the woman loved sharing her culture with her and she loved learning about it, Florence went on to henna herself and her friends and family.

However she then started to notice bindis and henna becoming "a trend". "No one cared about the origin, a culture was being abused for profit".

"I thought because I was taught about it different, I was an exception," she added. "And here's the problem: I actually wasn't being respectful in how I was using it. I wore this culture on my own terms only, to parties, at dinner. I too was disrespecting the beauty of the religion that had been taught to me those years ago".

Read Florence's full statement here.

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