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@alexpoulx/Tiktok

‘Um, I didn’t know what that word meant’: Harry Styles fan apologizes after mistakenly calling herself a ‘skinhead lover’

‘I’m sweating, I’m so anxious.’

 

V Roth

IRL

A woman has apologized for an unfortunate word mixup that went viral after she tried to compliment Harry Styles’ new look.

In a TikTok posted last week, user Alex Pouloutides (@alexpoulx) stitched her own video, which has now been deleted, in which she emphatically praised Styles’ new, well, style.

The One Direction star recently shocked fans by shaving his head, receiving mixed reactions, but Poulotides praised the look in her video.

@alexpoulx #stitch with @alexpoulx ♬ original sound – alexpoulx

“Why is everyone hating on Harry Styles for buzzing his hair?” she asked in her video. “That sh*t looks good as hell!”

She then held her arms out and asked, “Where my skinhead lovers at?”

The video rapidly cut to her recent stitch. “Um, I didn’t know what that word meant,” she said.

Poulotides explained that she doesn’t check TikTok after posting a video and wasn’t aware that the video had garnered backlash until a friend informed her and urged her to take the video down.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. She then lifted up an arm to show sweat stains, saying, “Look, I’m sweating, I’m so anxious. I’m sorry.”

By Tuesday, Poulotides’ video had over 4.8 million views. The Daily Dot reached out to Poulotides via email.

Commenters praised Poulotides for her honesty and accountability in admitting to the mixup.

“I also thought it just meant someone that’s shave their head and that was it,” one user wrote. “I def see how she goofed up.”

History of skinhead subculture

Beginning in England in the 1960s, the skinhead look arose from “mod” fashion and typically consisted of a shaved head and a working-class uniform of T-shirts and jeans with heavy boots, especially Doc Martens.

Early skinheads were allied deeply with working-class communities of color, such as the West Indian and Black communities of 1960s London.

Two-tone ska, a riff on Jamaican reggae music, evolved during this time out of an appreciation for Jamaican music and culture. The name “two-tone” itself refers to the multi-racial bands and scenes of the time and the strong message of racial equality behind the music.

A New York Times article from 1994, titled “True ‘Skinheads’ Are Not the Racist Thugs of Media Fame,” explains that many of these far-right groups would target skinheads for recruitment because of their working-class status.

The article continues, “Playing on the traditional nationalistic ideas of the working class, the fascist groups did their best to turn the skinheads against their immigrant neighbors.”

Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, “racist skinhead” groups carried out targeted attacks on people of color and LGBTQ people. The Southern Poverty Law Center defines racist skinheads as an extremist group and lists several incidents of violent attacks perpetrated by members of skinhead gangs.

Because of this, the skinhead aesthetic is considered an open admission of alignment with white supremacist or neo-Nazi ideology, with many groups of skinheads still aligned with neo-Nazi groups, white supremacists, and far-right radicals to this day.

However, Vox Pol has reported that in recent years, the numbers of racist skinheads have been dwindling, as far-right movements decentralize from an aesthetic and move primarily online.

Public opinion shifts

Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, known as SHARP, was formed in 1986 to strike back against the appropriation of the skinhead image by racist groups. A 1989 Los Angeles Times article describes a gathering of SHARP skinheads, which was attended by a multiracial group of participants and preached messages of racial equality.

One girl interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Iby Miranda, was a “a dark-skinned Latino high school student who favors short hair and black army boots” who spoke up against racist skinheads.

“Real skinheads aren’t racist,” Miranda said. “Those who are, are just bald punks.”

In a Viceland docuseries from 2017, host Grace Neutral interviewed several members of a skinhead group in England who are taking a stand against racism in their scenes. They assert that the skinhead subculture is based on a working-class lifestyle and a love for reggae and two-tone ska music.

“Why [are] there Nazi skinheads now, when that’s definitely not where it came from?” one interviewee and self-proclaimed skinhead asked. “We’re not part of that. We’re solely for the music.”

Commenters on Poulotides’ video accepted her apology and were horrified on her behalf by the mixup. Some shared that, although they know that there’s an effort to destigmatize skinhead aesthetics, they can’t help but regard them as a threat because of the association and bad experiences they’ve had.

“i can acknowledge that most nowadays are [anti-racist] but i’ve sadly met and seen the opposite a few times in my life due to where i work,” one user wrote.

“For sure people trying to reclaim it, but it’s mainly tied to [white supremacists],” another shared.

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