Ricky Martin called out for wearing Native American headdress: 'Shame on you for appropriating my culture'

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Ricky Martin is being called out for cultural appropriation.

The singer posted an Instagram photo from Miami in which he’s wearing a Native American headdress along with some shades. Needless to say, people find it offensive because war bonnets, as they are known, are of great importance in the Native American culture. They’re a high honor earned by the most respected and trusted leaders in the community, and are only to be worn by them. He has since deleted it.

(Image: Instagram)
(Image: Instagram)

Martin was clearly not in the know about that — despite previous headlines calling it out — and got a swift education from his social media followers.

“Native people wear war bonnets because they earned respect because they fought wars, now I don’t think I can respect you for wearing this so casually…” — @harlynbia

“I adore you. I think you’re absolutely wonderful, but as the daughter of a card carrying Native American / First Nations Elder, you wearing our very meaningful and sacred regalia is very insulting and wrong. I’m positive you did not understand or know the significance of the head dress, but, when you know better, you are supposed to do better. Now you know. Peace, love, light and prayers.” — @bellebunny1

@bellebunny1 also wrote: “That is a War Bonnet only to be worn by certain members of the tribe, it is sacred, not a costume to wear at a club or because it’s a carnival. It is earned one feather at a time, so unless Mr. Martin suddenly turned into an important member of one of our Tribes, and earned each one of those feathers on the regalia, he hasn’t the right to wear it as he has not earned it and he is not a part of my culture or heritage.”

“Native regalia is not a costume. Wearing a headdress has to be earned. Come on Ricky, as a gay man, you should know about inappropriate stereotypes.” — @jack.jackson.jr

“As a Blackfoot gay person I say shame on you for appropriating my culture for your ‘look.” — @cassiusredgun

“Umm. Take the headdress off boo boo. Cultural appropriation still exists from one minority to another.” — @in_allegory_of_self

“Love all the work you do and the impact you make in the world. But please, no headdress!!!” — @ickus1321

“Pictures like this lead to stereotypes people have about Native Americans in our country. These War bonnet headdresses are a sacred item in our culture given to veterans who’ve fought in wars. They also cover the caskets of fallen soldiers and deceased vets. Just thought I’d let you know. (Still a fan).” — @bigsky768

Surprisingly, one of the people who liked it was Bravo personality Andy Cohen, who wrote, “THIS IS YOUR LOOK!!!” with two fire emojis. That drew criticism too.

“@bravoandy wearing an indigenous headdress? Sir Andy Bravo, what you know bout indigenous headdress?” — @omarsbravo7

“@bravoandyAndy, don’t encourage him. There’s information all over the internet explaining why this is upsetting/offensive to Native people/cultures.” — @stupendous_tremendous

“You know this isn’t your look if @bravoandy is cheering u on.” — @xzevious

Martin isn’t the only high-profile person who has offended. Jessica Simpson, Pharrell Williams, Harry Styles and Alessandra Ambrosio are among the famous individuals to get called out for similar cultural appropriation. Just recently, Kevin Hart found himself at the center of a controversy for throwing his son a cowboys-and-Indians-themed birthday party.

Martin deleted the photo from Instagram by Thursday night. A rep for the star has not yet responded to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.

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