Katy Perry has gotten some shit over the past few months for her cultural appropriation practices – from dressing up like a geisha to, more recently, featuring mummified bodies with huge boobs and asses with big hoop earrings during her Prismatic World Tour shows. So what does Katy make of the criticism?
From Rolling Stone:
“As far as the mummy thing, I based it on plastic surgery,” she says. “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.”
She knows the rules are changing, that “cultural appropriation” is increasingly uncool, but she’s not thrilled about it. “I guess I’ll just stick to baseball and hot dogs, and that’s it,” she says. “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.”
Ouch, she’s right – the hot dogs and baseball thing will definitely come back to haunt her. On one hand, I get what she’s saying: I believe you can appreciate other cultures that you’re not a part of for their beauty and rich history, but I also think it’s a thin line between appreciation and attempting to claim something as your own that you don’t fully understand. I think Katy’s intentions are good, but intention doesn’t really matter if the end result is fucked up – especially to the cultural groups who are on the receiving end. After all, it might be cool to “act black” or appreciate “ratchet” parts of black culture now, but where it counts, it’s definitely not all that great of an experience for people of colour much of the time. Just something for Katy (and Gaga and others…) to think about.