Katy Perry on cultural appropriation: ‘Can’t you appreciate a culture?’

Katy Perry

Katy Perry covers the new issue of Rolling Stone to promote her Prismatic world tour. She seems a little bit punchy during the interview, actually. Very defensive. Katy takes some shots at fellow pop stars and their “fandoms.” I’m pretty sure she’s going after Lady Gaga, which is (begrudgingly) sad because Gaga’s been taken down enough pegs already after Artflop Artpop‘s failure.

Katy also talks about how people accuse of her cultural appropriation. I discussed how she insulted Islam in her “Dark Horse” video. She’s also been called out for her geisha style” performances and how her backup dancers dress up as big-bootied mummies during her “I Kissed a Girl” number. Katy says she’s just appreciating other cultures, y’all. And the mummies weren’t racist — they were making fun of Kim Kardashian. Hmm:

Throwing shade at other pop stars: “I’m not, like, a crazy ‘I’m gonna die for my fans’ type. Some people are so dramatic about it, and you’re like, ‘Honestly, you’re not the Second Coming. You’re just an entertainer!’… I’m very grateful for fans’ support, but I’m not thirsty or desperate.”

On the geisha controversy: “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 f— 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.”

On the mummy mess: “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.”

She may have a kid solo: “I want to be doing that in the right time. And that’s not in the next two years, you know? Maybe it’s in a five-year plan, but I need to really be able to focus 100 percent of my attention on it. I don’t really want to take the child on tour. Not until, like, birth through five is over. I don’t need a dude. I mean, Neil [Patrick Harris] and David [Burtka], their twins are beautiful. It’s 2014! We are living in the future; we don’t need anything. I don’t think I’ll have to, but we’ll see. I’m not anti-men. I love men. But there is an option if someone doesn’t present himself.”

She digs therapy: “That’s a safe place for me to actually work out everything that’s going on inside by a person who knows me as Katheryn Hudson. Not as Katy Perry. I would say anyone that’s in this business should be doing that regularly–to have that kind of accountability, because you get to a place where, like, no one holds you accountable. You can do anything you want, and it’s so destructive.”

Her new BFF, Madonna: “You have to really prove that you’re an authentic person, and you can be trusted, to be in a circle of friends with her. Which I totally understand. You have to really guard your heart when you’re on this kind of level. You can’t just have weirdos around you, strange people that want to suck your blood. Because everybody wants to be on your d-ck, you know? So you have to be very very ‘What are your motives? Why are you here? What do you want from me?’”

What she wants in a man: “I’m interested in colorful personalities. Look, I can’t be perfect. I don’t know. I think you love who you love. You learn over time. I mean, each one has been different. I tweeted the other day that I’m just looking for the prince that fits my glass Jordans slipper.”

[From Rolling Stone]

Katy also talks about Russell Brand again before saying she doesn’t want to talk about him. Katy needs to either own up to using Rusty for publicity or make him off limits for interview discussions. Instead, she’s pretending to take the high road after trashing him yet again. The good news? I don’t think Russell’s listening anymore.

Parts of this interview are interesting. I appreciate what she has to say about having a kid when she’s ready to do so. The stuff about the mummies and plastic Kim Kardashian makes sense, but Katy has capitalized on so many cultures that she shouldn’t be surprised when people expect the worst from her performance themes.

Here are some photos of Katy’s new tour costumes. People pay to watch this stuff.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry

Photos courtesy of Rolling Stone, Fame/Flynet & WENN

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119 Responses to “Katy Perry on cultural appropriation: ‘Can’t you appreciate a culture?’”

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  1. An says:

    You can appreciate a culture without ”dressing up” as religious or highly respected people in that culture which is incredible disrepectful. My family is from West Africa but you don’t see me breaking out the tribal gear beause IT’S DISRESPECTFUL! Other people’s cultures are not a trend or a fashion accessorie. D*mbass does need to stay in her lane.

    • maybeiamcrazy says:

      I am originally South African but I don’t appropriate the culture because I am not a part of it. It is disrespectful to do that.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Hey Katy-if you want to “appreciate” Geisha culture why don’t you follow Geisha tradition?

      During the first stage of Geisha training, you will have to work as a maid and do everything you are told, attend hanamachi geisha school, and become a minarai. Then you can learn how to pour tea in the traditional way and the art of conversation. After, you can graduate to maiko and once your onee-san teaches you how to be a true geisha–how to conduct a proper tea ceremony, flower arrangement, calligraphy, playing the shamisan, dancing, conversation, then you can become a Geisha, where you will have your intricate hairstyle done by a professional after washing your hair once a week only, and get paid to attend parties and tea houses, where you will be the entertainment and hostess,

      That’s how you appreciate a culture like the Geisha one and everything that it encompasses-the tradition, the work involved, and lastly, the detail that goes into the Geisha traditional dress.

      You don’t just put on the cute outfit and claim that you’re “appreciating the culture”. Please. If you want to play dress-up, at least be honest about it.

      • whipmyhair says:

        Okit don’t forget,

        That to keep your hair nice you need to sleep with a wooden pillow contraption to support your neck and head; but keep the hair pretty. Also with rice scattered underneath to make sure you sleep properly.

        I have read so many autobiographies and histories, anthropological studies on Geisha (I went through a massive Geisha phase as I was leaving high school) Kyoto is on my bucket list)

        I love that you know so much about the Geisha culture!

      • whipmyhair says:

        Adding on to the Geisha lifestyle, I don’t think she would ever actually wear a kimono. Her brand is way too “sexy” to cover up like that.

        That being said, a kimono worn a certain way can be VERY sexy. Trailing hems and some back showing- hinting at what’s underneath. Way more appealing to me then a cupcake bra.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I only know so much because like you, my mom is fascinated with Geisha culture and has spent a lot of time explaining it to me. Initially, I was FLOORED by how much hard work and dedication goes into obtaining the Geisha title. It’s truly amazing to me–beautiful, really.

        Agree about the Kimono-they are so stunning if worn the right way, by someone who understands and respects the culture and tradition behind it.

    • tifzlan says:

      Yup. Appreciating a culture is fine. Just don’t capitalize and profit off it. Also, her “appreciation” of a culture plays on the most stereotypical aspects of one culture, whatever that may be. Geishas? Really? Not everyone in Japan is a geisha, Katy. Also, you wore a dress rooted in Chinese culture when you performed as a Geisha, as a “tribute” to Japanese culture. Perhaps Katy should study more about these cultures she is supposedly appreciating?

    • Wilma says:

      It also sucks when people say stuff like this: ‘If there was any inkling of anything bad, then it wouldn’t be there, because I’m very sensitive to people.’
      That gets used so often and it’s so arrogant to say. Maybe shut up, listen and learn for a while, m’kay Katie?

    • K says:

      I hate the whole ”why is everyone suddenly so PC now” movement going on right now. No, it was wrong before too only no one really spoke about it on a level so that people could take notice. Now we have the internet widely available which is where people can actually speak up and tell you why playing dress up as someone important from an indigenous culture and turning it profitable is wrong! Educate yourself, Katheryn.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Exactly. This doesn’t seem that hard to understand to me. But what I really just can’t understand is this – Native Americans, or Asians or whoever your actions pertain to, are telling you, in great numbers, “this is offensive to me, it hurts and upsets and angers me.” Why do you not stop? Even if you don’t get it, why do you argue that it’s wrong for them to be offended? It doesn’t cost you anything or hurt you to stop, so just STOP. IT.

      • Tiffany27 says:

        MTE MTE MTE MTE MTE MTE MTE MTE. Why not JUST STOP?!?!?!?!?

      • lucy2 says:

        Great point.
        Instead of listening and maybe actually learning, she’s getting defensive and blaming those who pointed out the problem. How very mature.

      • Plantpal says:

        @Tiffany27
        What does MTE mean? Cannot find it in my Texting Dictionary of Acronyms.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        MTE=My Thoughts Exactly.

      • Mel M says:

        Goodnames- I have to say that while I 100% agree with you I commented on a thread a few days ago about the use of the R word and how many people say they are offended and hurt by it yet people everywhere still have no qualms using it, and I got a response saying that it’s better when kids know why it’s hurtful then just having it off limits to use. I didn’t get a chance to go back and look at more responses but I feel like you feel and if people say they are offended by something just stop no matter what! I don’t think there should be a difference between cutural appropriation and words that hurt specific groups of people. It’s all hurtful to some so why can’t we all just stop. I could go on but the bottom line is that some things are still very ingrained in our culture and looked at as being no big deal because maybe their group is not big enough or has a big enough voice or presence on the internet.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Yeah that was me.
        I can see that my point was lost there.

        I was in no way condoning the use of hurtful language, I was simply explaining that intention and context matter.

        I said the same above, I have no problem with people appreciating a culture but do it RIGHT. Exploiting or mocking cultural attire for entertainment or commercial endeavors is not ok.

        Using the r-word as a way to mock people who are so arrogant and cruel that they use that word freely and without thought doesn’t bother me. Using the r-word to mock people who have intellectual disabilities is offensive and cruel and DOES bother me.

        Then again, if it bothers you-the offended party- then point is clearly taken and it shouldn’t be used at all. As I said, I listened and I learned.

      • lunchcoma says:

        Agreed. It’s always been wrong. It’s just that fewer people spoke about the issues, and those who did were often ignored because those people generally weren’t powerful enough to be listened to.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        To OKitten – the whole R word situation was very complicated. Some people (me for instance) just reacted to the use of the word without having seen the skit and realizing that they were actually making fun of people who used the R word, not using it themselves to belittle others. So after I understood that, I could totally see your point. I think it was misunderstood by a lot of people and got confusing.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        The r-word was literally used to mock people who use that word so carelessly.

        But look, you know…I get it. As you said, if someone is telling me “that hurts me”, I’m not going to put my fingers in my ears and continue defending a movie that many people found disrespectful. It’s not that important to me.

        But thanks for your understanding, GNAT. You’re the bestest of the best :)

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        @MelM
        Oh, I agree with you that they should be the same, and should both just stop. As I said to the Original Kitten, the background of that discussion was sort of confusing, but I agree with you that certain words shouldn’t be used, including that one.

        OKitten, thank you. So sweet.

  2. Lady Macbeth (Hiddles F) says:

    Appreciating doesn’t mean mocking dear Katy… Omg when is she going to grow a brain :-/

    • hutter says:

      Don’t hold your breath…

    • CTgirl says:

      She takes vacuous and ignorant to new levels. Of course this is a woman who wears a Hershey Kiss bra and married Russell Brand so no one should be shocked.

  3. Jenny12 says:

    I cannot wait until this silly 29 year old child fades away. She truly believes her own hype. As for the culture thing, if she truly appreciates it, she will research it and determine what is respectful before she appropriates it for regurgitation.

    • TheOneandOnlyOnly says:

      Yes, she is an idiot, have you seen any of her interviews, but she’s on a major label with major corporate backing, her music has been described as Kidzz bop volume 4 etc.

    • MaiGirl says:

      So agree! She acts like a shallow, hyperactive 11-year-old. She’s a walking Lisa Frank illustration and she CAN’T SING LIVE to save her life!

  4. msw says:

    Buckle up folks.

  5. hutter says:

    “People pay to watch this stuff.” It does begger belief, doesn’t it?! But fortunately, she’s an amazing live singer. Ahem.

  6. Monie says:

    What is HER culture? Does she have one for someone else to appropriate?

    • AlexandriaTheGreat says:

      She’s white so her culture is mainstream, ie the default, the norm, and therefore not “other”.

      • Monie says:

        Exactamundo! Big butts, birkas, and Asian females are all props for Katy. I would believe her more if she did a Kanye rant about the evils of “plastic culture” after the number, etc.

  7. Tiffany27 says:

    “I’m not thirsty or desperate”

    Now Katherine………

  8. jane says:

    Again, being able to sing doesn’t make a person intelligent.

  9. InvaderTak says:

    You can appreciate a culture that isn’t yours. There is a line and pop stars in particular don’t seem to know where it is. Gwen stafani (sp) did this same thing and no one gave her a break. Same to you Perry.

  10. aenflex says:

    I don’t see the big offense with mummies or whatever else. This PC movement is so annoying to me.

    • Tiffany27 says:

      Yes. Considering the thoughts and opinions of others, particularly those who are disenfranchised, is super annoying.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Really! It was fine to exploit “those people” for centuries, and now we’re supposed to actually care about their feelings and pay attention to their explanations as to why it’s offensive to them. So inconvenient, dammit.

    • Adrien says:

      Some people really take PC to extreme, yeah, I agree but when you listen to the people being appropriated at, you will understand why. I too didn’t get the fuss about the Native American war bonnet as fashion statement until a tribe chieftain’s daughter explained to us why it’s offrnsive to use them as an ordinary accessory.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Adrien: Aenflex makes these types of comments every time this subject is brought up. I don’t think he/she WANTS to listen to the people being appropriated at, or understand their feelings. I respect you for being willing to listen, learn and change your views.

    • Mola says:

      Its part of the “people with light pigment in their skin are to blame for everything even if they personally(or their immediate ancestors) had nothing to do with what you are blaming them for” tumblr movement quite honestly. I’m biracial (Russian/ Pakistani) but appear lighter skinned like my mother than dark skinned South Asian like my father and was accused of cultural appropriation violations on Instagram for wearing traditional Pakistani clothing to my Aunt’s wedding. Some people sit around waiting to get offended to pat themselves on the back for an hour before moving onto the next violator of their finger wagging agenda and some people get on with life and truck along to greatness.

      Katy Perry is nothing in the grand scheme of world history.

  11. mimi says:

    If she had actual vocal talent, she wouldn’t have to rely on all the silly props and OTT costumes. She’s close to 30 now and tbh, I feel like her onstage gimmicks are growing more and more tiresome and appear more juvenile as time marches on. But she does have a humongous and loyal fanbase who buys her music and attends her concerts so my opinion is definitely in the minority.

    • Msmercury says:

      +1

    • Jayna says:

      She does an acoustic section in her tour, and while Katy isn’t the strongest singer in the world as a pop singer, she can sing. And her acoustic section is quite beautiful and what critics rave about most in reviews. We took our daughters to the tour, and I have to tell you it was a really good pop concert and the only one out of all the group of pop stars I would have considered appropriate to expose my young daughter to as her first pop concert. And every parent I talked to there were surprised how much they enjoyed most of it.

      By The Grace of God live on this tour acoustically, and I consider this an impressive performance by Katy, and live I can’t tell you how moving it was. YouTube videos never make up for the live experience of a vocal performance moving you, but his one really did.

      By The Grace of God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps4Rqx5HISM

      And another song from the acoustic section, The One that Got Away/Thinking of You

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEctl5yTbbs

      • Sozual says:

        SHE CAN NOT SING….FACT. She has been out on the scene for how long and NO ONE WITH VOCALS WANTS TO WORK WITH HER. She has peaked and will be gone.

  12. db says:

    I’m not (too) embarrassed to admit I like Katy but she’s full of shite about cultural appropriation. It’s one thing to play dressup, but she actually tried to trademark her bettie page/rockabilly look as her own invention, and that’s just greedy b.s.

  13. Sugar says:

    She sounds exceedingly unintelligent and completely uneducated. She needs to self-educate by reading books daily.

  14. Msmercury says:

    There is nothing original about her. She just copies everyone else other stars, cultures and even ripped off a comic book. She has nothing to offer that is her own.

  15. greenmonster says:

    Yes, it’s 2014 – but that is not the future, that’s the present.

  16. Abbicci says:

    Words Katy Doesn’t Understand.
    1. Feminism
    2.Appropriation
    3. Dignity
    4. Cupcakes

    She really doesn’t understand what cupcakes are.

  17. Tiffany says:

    Sure I appreciate other cultures by attending events, eating foods, conversing to learn and gain knowledge. You know, those things that people do while not offending the culture as a whole. People still do that, right?

    • lucy2 says:

      Yes – that is appreciating a culture. Not using their heritage as costume and props for a dumb concert.

  18. Adrien says:

    Why is it difficult for these wealthy people to show some awareness? Is it too much work to show a little empathy?

  19. eliza says:

    Like I said about Bieber in the other thread and I will repeat it here about Perry. I am so looking forward to the day she has to appear at faded star autograph conventions to earn her $.

    I really get angry if I am someplace that plays that Fireworks song. This idiot has no idea how dumb she is nor how horribly she sings.

  20. Mia V. says:

    Katy, now that you are BFF’s with Madonna, get some tips about costumes for concerts. Those shit you’re wearing make plastic booties look awesome!

    • Chris says:

      My Laura Mercier makeup book falls open at a pic of Madge ‘en geisha’. Religious iconography from Judaism, Catholicism and whatever you’re having yourself……I don’t think M is without insensitivity in such matters, though she’d rudely argue the opposite, no doubt.

  21. Jayna says:

    Katy isn’t the first to wear costumes of different cultures in pop shows. I’ve seen it a lot, so single them all out.

    Regarding her shading of Gaga, and, yes, it was shading, I get it. Katy’s tour started and Gaga dissed her in a tweet alluding to someone copying her without their own ideas for tour. I guess Katy couldn’t have a mechanical horse in her song Dark Horse, and I guess Gaga took offense to Katy in a green or blue wig, because, hey, Gaga created colored wigs and she wore it first. Kind of ironic and very petty that diss coming from Gaga since she was so resentful of everyone saying she was copying Madonna in her music and shows and videos. So Katy got a jab back at Gaga’s diss to her regarding her tour and copying her.

    Gaga is good to her fans and she has meant a lot to some of the gay bullied youth, but if you listen to her in concert it goes past giving her empowering speeches to the teens and what they mean to her and becomes cloying and unauthentic how she carries on with I live for you,Little Monsters, on and on, way over-the-top remarks that sound so disingenuous. So I get that part of what Katy is saying.

    I’m no fan of her last album, but I think this interview for the most part came across good.

  22. I Choose Me says:

    “I’m pretty sensitive to people” she says, while still refusing to get why cultural appropriation is wrong.

    Sit down Rainbow Not so Bright!

    You know I’ve defended her in the past. Thought of her as a pretty harmless pop star but after reading this interview I just can’t with her. Her attitude towards this issue sucks.

  23. G. says:

    If you want to wear a kimono, go to Japanese Festivals, buy one, and wear it correctly at said festivals. Eat the food. Interact with people from these cultures.

    Don’t go around sexualizing a culture. It’s rude and, frankly, lazy. It doesn’t buy you points with anything, Katy.

    • Jayna says:

      So I’m not supposed to enjoy Madonna’s whole kimono bit during her Ray of Light era? Geeze, give me a break. I get the Indian headdress , but many things are just being taken too far.

      Of course, Cher could give a shit about any of it and is on tour donning whatever the hell she wants as a costume, including her Indian headdress. She seems to skate by on that still, which does shock me.

  24. Blythe says:

    She’s just so damn stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Shut the hell up. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a book, or watch a documentary, or read a freaking social justice blog every once in a while. I guess cultural appropriation is a poor people issue that celebrities couldn’t care about, right? Moron. If I ever see her, in person, I’ll have to fight the urge not to slap her.

  25. Algernon says:

    Appreciation is fine, it’s great, it makes the world a better place when there is genuine appreciation and respect between different cultures. If you’re an entertainer and you truly appreciate a different culture, why not go out and find artists and artisans from that culture to collaborate with? If you want to do something Native American-themed, because you find their culture beautiful and fascinating, go find some artists and musicians to work with. Ask them how they would like to be represented. Give them the stage to create their own representation. Co-write a song with an American Indian songwriter (there are many, many talented native singer/songwriters out there), invite musicians to form your band, have a native designer make you some native-inspired pieces to wear on stage. Don’t appropriate, *incorporate*.

    • Sozual says:

      BOOM…brilliantly said. She is lazy and not an artist. She is not a quality entertainer either.

  26. zan says:

    People relax..
    Everybody dress up once in a while
    halloween?!?! Pocahontas, geisha, petruchka, cowboy, french maid, lumberjack, I’m canadian and I’m not offended if someone dresses as a lumberjack . I think we should take it with a grain of salt

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Oh, the old lumberjack argument. It’s. Not. The. Same. Thing.

      You forgot to add “people are too sensitive.”

      • zan says:

        you’re right, I did forget it!

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Lol. Ok, I give up.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I actually AM offended if someone just randomly dresses up as a lumberjack, unless it’s a hot dude.
        Hot dudes can dress up as lumberjacks all day and night.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Ooh, hot lumberjacks! You know what else I like? UPS drivers with shorts and boots. I know it’s sort of Village People but I think it’s cute.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I had such a crush on the UPS guy who always came into my office for YEARS.
        He actually just got transferred to a new route :(

        Sigh

        What could have been…..

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        So sad. Did you ask if he delivered more than one kind of package?

    • Annie says:

      I agree, Zan. It’s one thing to have respect for the traditions of your culture but there’s also such a thing as taking things too seriously and turning it into some untouchable sacred cow.

      • RosettaStoned says:

        Awww, does that hurt your little feelings that you can’t just wear whatever you want? As if there weren’t hundreds of thousands of designs on the planet to choose from. Why do you get to decide what is being taken “too seriously” to someone else’s culture?

  27. Jayna says:

    Remember when Gaga was trying to make wearing a burqa happen, and Jezebel told her to go back to wearing lobsters on her head. LOL I love that one-liner.

    Gaga in her burqas.

    http://jezebel.com/lady-gaga-has-a-burqa-problem-1055471506

  28. Mrs McCubbins says:

    I agree with zan. I’m Canadian too and think this PC thing is over the top. When I meet people from other cultures and they laugh about the “eh” I dont get offended because it’s true. We do say that. Can’t people laugh at themselves? Why become offended when the intent was never to offend? There’s so much cruelty going on in the world. Be angry at the things that really matter. So Katy P dresses up as a geisha and sings, who is hurt by that? Over sensitized if you ask me!!!

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I don’t think people are getting as outraged as it may seem. Most of us are just saying “that’s pretty stupid.”

      The problem isn’t just one incident here and there, the problem is on a cumulative level. Once we start normalizing cultural appropriation, once we start saying “sure that’s fine” then the masses will eventually dilute a meaningful tradition until it’s absorbed into modern pop culture and doesn’t exist anymore.

      Then something that is sacred, special, and extremely significant to a particular culture disappears and no longer belongs to the people that once created it and lived by it.

      Throughout history we have so many examples of a dominant culture appropriating an aspect of a colonized culture, while erasing all traces of origin.
      They didn’t understand (or more likely didn’t care) that once they made it theirs, they lost the historical context and essentially disowned the author of the very thing they were appropriating.

      It might sounds dramatic but it’s not, trust me. Over millions of years cultures, languages, civilizations have vanished because people absorbed (or really, stole) their traditions, stripped those traditions of their original meaning, and took credit for what was created by those who came before them.

      As a society, we should seek to preserve, protect and respect the traditions of others, not exploit them for commercial use.

      • Mrs McCubbins says:

        That’s a very well stated argument and you make some valid points but I still disagree. As an example First Nations people have been treated terribly by the whites but they still hang onto their culture and traditions. Katy P wearing a feathered headress is not going to take that away. If anythng she’s doing the opposite and in an unoffensive manner. She’s not normalizing it. Can only a First Nation’s person celebrate their culture? It’s not like there are thousands of white guys walking around with a feathered headress cause it’s fashionable. I love going to Pow Wows and partaking and I think they appreciate that I respect their culture. Too many people use PCness to be angry. It’s over the top imo.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        But Mrs McCubbins, I just want to understand people like you. If one of your friends tells you that your behavior hurts their feelings, don’t you want to understand why it hurt them and stop doing it? Or do you tell them they are wrong to be hurt and what you did was fine, so they shouldn’t mention it again? I can’t understand telling people that they shouldn’t be offended by the wearing of a sacred garment. They ARE offended. They’ve said so time and time again. Why can’t you just respect that, and be careful of their feelings? Why is your desire to continue your behavior more important than their feelings? I honestly just don’t get it.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “It’s not like there are thousands of white guys walking around with a feathered headress cause it’s fashionable. ”

        Well no but if every celeb out there was wearing a headdress, it could easily become an item available for mass consumption. That’s what I was saying–on a cumulative level, cultural appropriation can be incredibly destructive. Sure, Perry, Pharell, etc aren’t destroying a culture all by themselves, but they could unwillingly contribute to that if they insist on turning spiritual or cultural items into a fashion statement

        You partaking in a Pow Wow is entirely different than Perry wearing a Geisha costume onstage.

        In the former instance you are (presumably) WITH Native American people, actively participating in a sacred ritual. You are letting yourself be taught by people who understand and respect the significance of the ceremony you are partaking in (again, presumably) and you are experiencing an authentic tribal ritual, with the blessing of those who understand and revere it the most.

        In the latter instance, a white chick is dressed in traditional Japanese Geisha attire, surrounded by white back-up dancers who are bowing and putting their palms together as if to mock a culture, gyrating onstage and using the outfits as stage costumes to “entertain”. There is no reverence or respect there. It is taking something out of its original context, stripping it of meaning and using it to sell records. Or tickets. Or an image. It’s commercialism, plain and simple.

        I think people can be heavy-handed with PCness sometimes but I think overall it’s more beneficial than detrimental. Mostly I just don’t get why everyone has to have everything for themselves. I don’t mind it if certain things are off-limits to me. It’s just not that big of a sacrifice to make.

      • RosettaStoned says:

        To the one who said:

        “It’s not like there are thousands of white guys walking around with a feathered headress cause it’s fashionable. ”

        Clearly you’ve never been to burning man….

    • Chris says:

      Mrs McC
      A war bonnet, or other object held sacred by cultures mown down by a rapacious territorial imperative is surely an understandably more touchy subject than a linguistic tic common among a dominant culture.

      • Mrs McCubbins says:

        Kitten, I get what you’re saying now and have to agree with you when you put it like that. Again well said!

        Goodnames you dont know me so saying to me “people like you” is what? Tell me. I want to know. You’re basically telling me to respect others and then in the same sentence disrespect me. Nice one!

      • Mrs McCubbins says:

        Rosettastoned no I havent. But at the same time I could be an artist wanting to express myself and show what I’ve learned in an African or Native Dance class because I love the culture and the dance itself. How the hell is that offending anyone? Is it just because my skin is white?

  29. Jessica says:

    Is it possible to write an article on Katy Perry without bringing up Gaga? The thirst.

  30. Sozual says:

    Madonna lets these fools…Cyrus and Perry.. use her name so the young kids know about her and see of course she is the ultimate. When is the new duet Perry.

  31. Tiffany :) says:

    I just….I just don’t like Katy Perry at all. I find her voice to be grating and shrill, I find her music to be generic and Dr. Luke reliant, and her performances and interviews to be embarrassingly juvenile.

  32. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    I’ve observed that it is almost exclusively people who don’t have to have experience certain kinds of offense who beat the drum against its expression. It makes sense, but when it happens to you, you’ll understand it. Of course, these are the people to whom these things are least likely to offend, but consider this: everyone has a sore spot, if someone is poking at yours, why would you be honoured by that? I think there’s a difference between being invited into something and presuming to have a right to it, because there’s a pretty nasty tradition to it and the line between ‘appreciation’ and ‘colonial mindset’. This pops up with a vengeance when someone responds that ‘they’, then, need to stop ‘appropriating’ ‘white’ culture, and then go on to list components of contemporary North American culture, as if it is something created in a petri dish and gifted to the people of colour, rather than something of which they are a part and to which they already contribute and can claim with as much right as can whites.

    I think that the Ninja Turtles donnybrook proves that intent doesn’t always trump the damage that ignorance can do and that cultural distance acts as a huge insulator. Being from Canada, seeing that poster didn’t dredge up a personal pain, but I’m close enough to the American consciousness to have been be able to predict what the reaction would be and don’t begrudge them of their reaction, those who were hurt by it.

    What seems to happen is that in order to convey that ‘appreciation’ in such a compact space of time and effectively communicate those references to the wisest number of recipients, people are going to go with the hit reel, the stuff that people already recognise. Those things are almost always stereotypes and stereotypes can be alienating and insulting.

    The stereotypes associated with being Canadian are pretty benign to complimentary. Large scale oppression of groups of our populations didn’t occur because of nationality, they happened because of race or ethnicity. No First Nations population was ever obliterated because it was Canadian, it was because it was indigenous. same for the residential school system. No communities of internment camps arose out of distrust of Canadians and there certainly no system that targeted German-Canadians that way. Africville wasn’t torn down for no reason because Canadians were discouraged and prevented from achieving prosperity and community building was systematically crushed, black people were and those ones were in Canada. That’s all underbelly stuff, though, Canada as a whole, though, and for a majority of its population hasn’t been a whipping boy, so there’s no dark history behind ‘eh’ (which, I don’t even hear people say) and a lot of other stereotypes.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Very well said.

    • Chris says:

      Terrific comment, Pepsi P..C
      A handy indicator, (for Katy types, re the likely offence in any cultural borrowings) is the known fact of any historical injuries experienced by the culture/people in question.
      Larking about with artefects forever associated with a historically despised/plundered/terrorised identity, is likely to cause new insults, or pain, (even if accidentally, through ignorance).
      Add a bit of intentional malice, and reverse-appropriation, and outraged reaction is certainly the aim….remember (British soccer player) Paul Gasgoigne miming a Unionist piper at a stunned Celtic crowd? He ‘borrowed’ a symbol of the ancient crushers of Catholic Irish in Scotland and taunted them with it…everyone heard the mimed the playing of The Sash in their heads. So that instance took a despoiler’s sacred symbol to use as cultural cosh.

      All of which is an awfully meandering (sleepy) waffle about an actual point here: we were taught that though sticks and stones may break our bones, names can never hurt us. That has proven to be bad advice…..words/names DO cut and scar. So do misused symbols, and our own freedom of expression has to take second place to the consideration of causing righteous indignation in vulnerable quarters.
      ( sorry if incomprehensible, already halfway to unconsciousness)

    • Mrs McCubbins says:

      Pepsi your comment makes sense to me as well. But the “eh”? How can you be Canadian or been to Canada and not have heard that? Bob and Doug McKenzie ring a bell?

  33. Sozual says:

    Egyptians were the black Africans of the Sudan and Egypt. She didn’t do it on purpose, the dancers were just black, cause she is a moron.

    • Vvvoid says:

      there are major phenotypic differences between the Blacks who come from the slave coast region. So even if most ancient Egyptians were what we now consider to be black, they looked nothing like those dancers. But that aspect is nowhere near as stupid as the fact that she mixed up Islam with ancient Egypt. That actually seems racist.

  34. Green says:

    I like Katy, but her whole enterprise is right down there in terms of pop “culture.” Just put a little thought into it. Get a consultant or something before you do something else to offend people.

  35. Marianne says:

    “People pay to watch this stuff”.

    Yeah, like me. I saw her concert and honestly it was so much fun. Yeah, I get that Katy isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, but I dont expect any philosophical from her. She makes fun music, she sings great live and she doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. *Shrugs*.

  36. Stella says:

    Of all the people listed on that cover (Tom Petty, Weird Al, Johnny Winter, Beck), they all deserve to be on the cover of Rolling Stone more than Katy Perry. It’s too bad our culture cares more about pretty & vapid than actual talent.

    • Sozual says:

      It’s too bad our culture cares more about pretty & vapid than actual talent.

      Those are the people that buy magazines. The people that like artistic entertainers are too stingy to buy a mag cover.

  37. Lola says:

    Saw the picture of the geisha outfit and the mummies, and I did not see anything wrong with it to be honest. So I take it this whole thing started because the Pharaohs sent a letter from the afterlife to complain. I have a couple of Gods of Desire shirts, so I guess I am appropriating Chinese culture? Really?? Come on…
    What I do think she needs is a good PR Team. Had she left the mummies comment with plastic surgery and had said nothing else we would not be commenting this. She, as many pop musicians or musicians in general (there are exceptions, I will admit) is not that well read. Are we truly surprised by that?

  38. Britt says:

    I agree with Zan & Annie here as well. I agree about being sensitive to the many cultures the world but not being being called out for wearing various outfits that are part of an artistic show (rI know, it’s Katy Perry, artist is a bit much) stifles creativity. It’s as if not trying to be racist is the new racism (i borrowed that from Community). We are trying so damn hard not to offend that we can’t help but notice each cultural difference and nuance. Instead of appreciating and enjoying other cultures we are forcing everyone to stay in our own group,& that defeats the purpose of a multi-cultural society. There is a huge difference between racism & wearing something creative from another culture. (Btw… as a bi-racial person myself it wouldn’t upset me if my German relatives wore kimonos nor if my Japanese relatives wore dirndls & lederhosen)