Hip-hop star Pharrell Williams has issued a formal apology to members of the Native American community after coming under attack for wearing a traditional feathered headdress in a cover photo for a U.K. magazine.
The Happy hitmaker is featured modeling the headpiece on the cover of Elle UK's July (14) issue, and the snap has caused an online backlash among fans, who took offense to the image - even though the singer/producer has previously claimed to have Native American ancestry.
One annoyed Twitter user wrote, "Pharrell...why?!#NotHappy with @Ellemagazine for the appropriation of this headdress", while another added, "Urgh. Why does the fashion industry insist on turning sacred cultural items into fashion props?".
The criticism has prompted Williams to speak out about the photoshoot and a statement issued to the New York Daily News reads: "I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry."
The traditional headdress was a change of style for Williams, who has become known of late for wearing oversized Vivienne Westwood-designed hats. The superstar debuted the bizarre look at the Grammy Awards in January (14) and it quickly became his trademark look.
Williams isn't the first celebrity to come under fire for wearing a feathered headdress as a fashion accessory - One Direction's Harry Styles faced a similar backlash in March (14), when he shared a photo of himself wearing a similar piece on his Instagram.com blog.