Y’all’s girl Katy Perry is currently promoting her meh album, ‘Witness’, by doing a bizarre series of interviews and appearances on tv and the web having these come to Jesus moments about her past problematic white behavior and her history of cultural appropriation. Sitting down with controversial activist Deray Mckesson for a recording of his podcast Pod Save the People, Perry—who is 32 years old—admits that she’s pretty darn ignorant when it comes to everything from cultural appropriation to feminism.
In the past, Katy has released music videos, like “This Is How We Do”, where she caricatures black culture by pursing her lips sassily while wearing green cornrows and holding a watermelon. Yeaaah. And in the video for “Dark Horse”, her mega-hit with Academy Award-winner (lol) Juicy J, Katy rocks as ancient Egyptian look that showed her with a jeweled-embellished smile, seemingly mocking gold front culture and, once again, caricaturing black culture and black people. After receiving a steady slew of backlash for her unflattering “appreciation” of black culture and Asian cultures, Perry fired back, “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–k me in the a–, but can’t you appreciate a culture? I guess, like, everybody has to stay in their lane? I don’t know.”
By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor
Sigh. But now Katy Perry is ready to learn. In her conversation with Deray, Perry admits her past mistakes and expressed, what appeared to me to be genuine remorse for how she conducted herself and her image in the past. But what was so irritating about the exchange is the fact that her education always seems to come from one of her “empowered angels”, in this case a black friend named Cleo, who pulled her to the side to gently, non-judgmentally point out her problematic actions and unpack them for her.
(Click video to watch)
“I didn’t know I did it wrong until I heard people say I did it wrong. And that’s what it takes, out of compassion, out of love, ”Hey, this is where the origin is?“ and ”Do you understand?“ And not just, like, a [slapping sound] clap back.”
To an extent, it's fair not to know. I wasn't born with intrinsic knowledge about how to appropriately participate in or appreciate other cultures, but it also didn't take me 32 years to figure it out. Further, Katy's entire conversation with Deray basically confirms that she doesn't have many, if any, POC around her in her personal life or professionally.
Can't say I'm surprised when her ex-boyfriend John Meyer once described his penis as a "white supremacist".
'Dark Horse' video
'This Is How We Do' video
*Erin White is an Atlanta-based writer and AFROPUNK's editorial and social media assistant. You can follow her on Tumblr or friend her on Facebook. Have a pitch or an inquiry? Shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.