Five days after photographs from her cowboys-and-Indians birthday party sparked controversy online, British singer Pixie Lott has apologized. Though virtually unknown in the United States, Lott is a mega-star in the UK, known for chart-topping pop singles and regular appearances on TV.
It’s an episode that involves celebrities that most people in America haven’t heard of—thus it is, in a sense, utterly irrelevant. Yet the fact that an anti-stereotyping, anti-appropriation message penetrated the bubble of UK celebrity and became newsworthy in British media is a sign of just how far awareness of Native issues is traveling.
On the other hand, Lott has ignored followers who requested she delete the photos—the two photographs of her wearing a feather crown and makeup are still live on her Instagram page. The photo that was posted first, with a caption that reads “Tigerlily is out to play tonight for final BDAY celebrations,” has 374 comments. One critical response (via mirror.co.uk): “It doesn’t change the fact that it’s very disrespectful. ‘Cowboys’ (meaning Americans/white people) killed Natives and forced them out of their homes. How is it in good fun when you’re basically making a mockery of the genocide of a lot of people.”
“I did see [the responses], and I am honestly so sorry if I offended anyone, it was never intended to happen,” Lott told an OK! interviewer. “I apologize but I honestly meant it as an innocent thing,” she added.
Party guest Jade Thirlwall, another young UK-only celebrity (she’s in a girl group called Little Mix), posted pictures of herself in costume that have generated more discussion—this selfie is at 2,845 comments and counting: