Little Women actress Florence Pugh apologized for her past instances of "cultural appropriation" amid the worldwide protests against systemic racism. The 24-year-old said she decided to go beyond just sharing posts, donating to causes, and reading by looking inwards at "instances in my life where I have been guilty. She recalled the first time she heard the phrase "cultural appropriation" and shared moments in her life when she was guilty of it.
At the beginning of a long statement she shared on Instagram Friday, Pugh recognized that the past four weeks since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis on May 25 have been "huge." The world is "trying to make change and I'm learning a tidal wave of information that frankly, was always there but I was unaware of," Pugh wrote. "I've tried my best to post, learn, pass what I've learnt on to others and of course, echo the voices of those who don't have a platform to share their wisdom." She went on to note that she wanted to do something more, including coming to terms with her own past wrongs. She realized that she was guilty of cultural appropriation in the past, specifically after recalling a picture she shared on Instagram when she was 17.
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Pugh first heard about cultural appropriation when she was 18. At the time, she asked a photographer friend named Holly in London if she liked cornrows. Holly said no, which puzzled Pugh. Holly explained that White people wearing cornrows was an example of cultural appropriation and "the history and heartbreak over how when Black girls do it they're mocked and judged, but when White girls doe it, it's only then perceived as cool."
"It was true," Pugh wrote. "I could see how Black culture was being so obviously exploited. I was defensive and confused, white fragility coming out plain and simple. I didn't want to upset anyone and was perplexed as to how I hadn't heard this term before."
The next example Pugh recalled was wearing a bindi and henna, despite not being Indian. She noted how they became a trend in the summer of 2017 and no one understood their true meaning. Pugh thought she was different because she knew their meaning, but she realized this was not the case because she "Wasn't being respectful in how I was using it."
Lastly, Pugh noted the Rastafarian look she wore in a picture of herself at 17. She forgot about the picture, which was up on Instagram for eight years. At the time she posted it, she did not think she did anything wrong, but now understands that "growing up White and privileged allowed me to get that far and not know." She later added, "Stupid doesn't even cut it, I was uneducated. I was unread."
At the very end of her post, Pugh apologized to everyone who was offended by the post. "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."