OK, Katy Perry that will be enough!
While critics are up in arms over Nicki Minaj’s ginormous cakes on the cover of her single cover “Anaconda,” a conversation about the white artists who constantly commit crimes against Black culture should be had. Or is that not a thing? Artists like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea are constantly “borrowing” from what they think is Black culture in an effort to be “trendy.”
Perry released the video to her pop-friendly tune, “This Is How We Do,” and we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out what the hell is going on. The “Prismatic” star rocks corn rows, gelled down baby hairs and acrylic tips in the clip. She posed with watermelon and engaged with animated figures that twerked. “Yo, shout out to all you kids, buying bottle service, with your rent money/Respect,” she sings. But to her “It’s no big deal,” so goes the chorus. Sigh. We’re going to need Katy to have a stadium of seats!
Her latest release feels more like satire. It is an obnoxious indicator of mainstream’s perspective of the Black culture–baby’s mothers spending their rent money on expensive bags and sleeping in the next morning after buying bottles at the club the night before. It’s really disgusting.
Perry has a history of questionable creative decisions. Earlier this year, the “Kissed A Girl” singer embarked on the “Prismatic World Tour,” where her dancers donned mummy-like body suits that appeared to be hypersexualized versions on the African-American woman’s body. Katy recently opened up about the controversy in RollingStone.
“As far as the mummy thing, I based it on plastic surgery,” she said. “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 the fact that they also wore black bob wigs, big hoop earrings and sunglasses was a representation of the plastic surgery culture as well.
She added, “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 ass, but can’t you appreciate a culture? I guess, like, everybody has to stay in their lane? I don’t know.”
There’s a big difference between appropriation and appreciation and Katy Perry has surpassed the fine line a long time ago. It’s one thing to pay homage to the Black culture (artists like Justin Timberlake have this on lock), but rocking grills and corn rolls is not the way to go. We don’t feel praised, we feel offended.
Perry prides herself on her “appreciation” of the Black culture, yet it’s clear she has NO idea what Black culture is–which is a constant in mainstream media. She isn’t the first White celebrity who has rocked baby hairs or braids. Rita Ora wore them and so did Kendall Jenner in a shoot that was praised by Marie Claire Magazine as “taking bold braids to an epic new level.” Umm, have they seen Alicia Key circa “Fallen?”
It’s upsetting because Black culture is about so much more than long finger nails, shaking your a** and using ghetto lingo like “THOT” (that she also uses in the “This Is How We Do” video). But, unless artists like Katy and Miley actually take the time to research Black culture and what goes into it, they will always have this White-washed (and ridiculously outdated) version of what it is.
Katy, we’re going to need you to chill!