Chelsea Handler in a headdress shirt: Do we care?

In chelsea handler, headdress, headdress shirt, random appropriation by Adrienne K.12 Comments

Last night on Chelsea Lately, Chelsea Handler sported what appears to be a shirt with a big ol’ warbonnet on it. Chances are, it’s not from a Native designer–if it is, by all means correct me, and this becomes a very different post–but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the worst, and she’s not wearing the headdress, unlike some of our other celebrity friends, but of course, it still makes me sigh.

I’m wondering if this stuff is becoming so mainstream that I’m losing sensitivity to it–cause two years ago I probably would have been livid over this. Or maybe I’m just becoming a crotchety, jaded old who can’t get as riled up anymore (ok, who am I kidding?). 

I guess this would be categorized as a “Random Appropriation of the Day” (I haven’t done one of those in forever!)…


Drew Barrymore Sports a Hipster Headdress and a Budwiser Apron. Really.

Hey Kardashians: why you so obsessed with me?

(Thanks Lanova!)
  • Bixology

    Honestly, this representation might be even more troubling from my point of view. It seems to be signaling a shift towards a headdress as signifier without the signified–suggesting that even more meaning is lost (and more power is lost) when the headdress is reduced to nothing more than a graphic design or icon.

    • 8mph Ansible

      Along with the #activistfatigue mentioned, I agree with this assement wholeheartedly, Some important person or cultural item that actually (STILL) means something to a group of people (in this case a headdress and its cultural & religious significance) turned into some forgettable t-shirt graphic for prophet. Kinda like the Che Guevara tees for example and wearers who often no nothing about him other than the pic looks cool or “Oh, he was some communist guy”.

  • j


  • This doesn’t bother me at all…most things don’t. It would bother me if it was used in a derogatory manner. I’ve learned all throughout my life that not everyone in this world will be happy, there is always someone out there that has to complain about every little thing. I would rather focus on the bigger picture and not the picture on someone’s shirt.

  • Ironbed Rm

    I see it as a graphic representation of something beautiful and as a subtle reminder of something beautiful from our heritage. It comes from the past and anyone should be able to make a tee shirt inspired by things they see. It in now way damages the headdress but reminds us what a great culture that was no different than kids wearing dino shirts really.

    • Your comparison of a sacred item from a living culture with contemporary spiritual significance to dinosaurs is exactly what is harmful about this trend. We are living people with living cultures, don’t erase us.

      • Cortney

        Perfectly said, Jack.

  • Arlene Mc Gillin

    Chelsea, I love you ,because you say it as it is,and in your own way. I too have a tendency to do so, people dont like to hear what they dont have the nerve to say. F them. I watch you on tv,every chance i get. Im 75 yrs young. When I was young, I wouldnt say s t if I had a mouth full…till I got shit on so many times,I finally got fed upuup

  • Arlene

    love the shirt. my grandchildren are Cherokee….my family is from Spain and Italy my husbands from Ireland. Great mix…… so who cares?

    • Kat

      Apparently NDNs, but you lady are not listening.

  • Cortney

    This is what has had me in a twist this week- synchronized swimming routine with brownface, headdresses, glamorizing violence… it’s like the perfect storm of awful. And, at an international competition, they actually for this crap :(

  • Kwalema

    I just have to disagree that there is a big difference if it’s a Native person or not. It’s more irritating if it’s not because they are being blatantly and carelessly disrespectful and ignorant, but if it is a Native person, they’re just using their identity to commercialize their own and other Native peoples’ beliefs and traditions. Either way it doesn’t enrage me, but it does makes her look pretty dumb.