Katy Perry Responds To Accusations Of Racial Insensitivity

“As far as the mummy thing, I based it on plastic surgery. Look at someone like Kim Kardashian or Ice-T’s wife, Coco. Those girls aren’t African-American. But it’s actually a representation of our culture wanting to be plastic, and that’s why there’s bandages and it’s mummies. I thought that would really correlate well together… It came from an honest place. If there was any inkling of anything bad, then it wouldn’t be there, because I’m very sensitive to people. … I guess I’ll just stick to baseball and hot dogs, and that’s it. I know that’s a quote that’s gonna come to fuck me in the ass, but can’t you appreciate a culture? I guess, like, everybody has to stay in their lane? I don’t know.”

As a pop star who has had more than a few accusations the racial insensitivity against her, Katy Perry was asked by Rolling Stone to explain herself. Unlike Miley Cyrus, at least Katy doesn’t seem to think she’s being persecuted for no reason. Instead, Katy just seems frustrated that parading around in makeup and a costume to look like someone of a different race isn’t seen as “appreciat[ing] a culture.”

By the “mummy thing,” Katy is referring to dancing mummies onstage during her current tour with huge breasts, huge butts, large fake lips and sunglasses. She calls their costumes a critique of plastic surgery (i.e. the bandages and sunglasses), but her critics say these are stereotypical depictions of Black women. Katy has also been criticized for dressing up as a geisha during a performance at the American Music Awards.

The thing is, at least with the geisha costume, I suspect Katy does think it’s a compliment to dress up as a geisha as a way to “appreciate a culture.” I don’t doubt that Katy just assumed these were all costumes that were all chosen in goodwill, not different from her spinning boob lollipop costumes. It’s not, though; here’s a statement from the Japanese-American Citizens League specifically explaining why her geisha performance was problematic. If she’s “very sensitive to people,” then listen to the people you offended. It’s time (no pun intended) Katy to face the music: No, really, it’s a compliment! isn’t much of a defense for appropriating a culture as a costume for a dance number. Though she doesn’t indicate in Rolling Stone that she’s ready to do so, it would behoove Katy and her team to put more thought into how her costumes may be received. It’s possible to be beautiful and eye-catching and creative without offending people.

In the meantime, hot dog costumes it is, I guess.

[Rolling Stone]
[Psychology Today]
[Japanese American Citizens League]

Email me at [email protected] Follow me on Twitter.

[image via Psychology Today]