Indian Country Not “Happy” With Pharrell

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown June 4th, 2014 Last Updated on: June 4th, 2014

Pharrell Williams has been all over the radio and television lately with his chart-topping song “Happy” being played worldwide. The UK version of Elle magazine recently featured the musician on their cover and his choice of headgear has left many Native Americans #nothappy.


Thanks to social media, news of the cover photo spread quickly and as reported by The Washington Post Style blog, Pharrell has since apologized.

“I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry,” he said Wednesday morning through his publicist.

So what do you think? Was the apology enough?

And special thanks to Jared Yazzie, owner of OxDx Clothing, for making a “Unhappy” remix of Pharrell's Elle Magazine cover. Ever person in the fashion industry should think of this image the next time they want to put one of their models in a headdress.


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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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I agree no one should disrespect anyone’s culture like that. I haven’t seen a native person wearing African regalia so they shouldn’t wear aboriginal rigalia unless they too are part.

Nate Bratton

Still, what makes this disrespectful? People pose in crowns and thrones, mock ups of the Oval Office, etc.and no one complains. If he posed with Sitting Bull’s actual headdress, I would understand. Does this mean I can’t wear moccasins or make my own headdress “in the style of” because I might offend someone?
I’m thinking too many people are looking for something to be offended by.


It offensive because the headress is a very honored item. It is earned not worn by just anyone. . Think of going and sitting in the queens thrown… doesn’t happen. Or expecting to just waltz on into the Oval Office.

Chad Dawkins

What’s wrong with him wearing that? How is this disrespectful or offensive?

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