While fans love her infectious tunes, Katy Perry has been the culprit of cultural appropriation on more than one occasion in recent years. But unlike many of her fellow White female entertainers, she decided to address the issue on her 72-hour live stream with civil rights activist and leader of the Black Lives Matter movement DeRay Mckesson. She admitted to unknowingly being a cultural appropriation offender and even asked her stylist to educate her on the "history" of Black hair.
“I've made several mistakes. Even in the "This Is How We Do" video, with how I wore my hair [in cornrows] — having a hard conversation with one of my empowered angels, Cleo [Wade, poet and activist], about why I can't wear my hair that way or what is the history behind wearing the hair that way. And she told me about the power in Black women's hair and how beautiful it is and the struggle. And I listened, and I heard and I didn't know.”
On "compassionate" criticism vs. clapbacks…
“Sometimes it takes someone to say, out of compassion, out of love, 'Hey, this is where the origin is.' And not just a clapback. Because it's hard to hear those clapbacks sometimes. Your ego just wants to turn from them.”
On her “joke” about Barack Obama gone wrong…
During an Instagram Live Q&A session with fans, one of them told Katy, "I miss your old, black hair." Katy responded, "Oh, really? Do you miss Barack Obama as well? Oh, OK. Times change. Bye! See you guys later." Yikes!
“In my attempt to make a joke, I made a mistake and I had said it wrong. Something really triggered me. Someone was coming for my hair again and someone said I'm not pretty enough without my black hair and I snapped.”
When DeRay asked whether she could understand people's negative reactions, Katy responded, "Yes. I have lots of white privilege." And while she may never understand the struggles of other cultures, she also vowed to continue to educate herself.
(Photo: Katy Perry via Youtube)