Katy Perry Talked About Cultural Appropriation With DeRay McKesson


Katy Perry has been on an explanation spree the last few days, seemingly to clear up misconceptions about her music and her image. In a Rolling Stone interview, she put the Taylor Swift beef to bed, at least on her behalf.

Perry also sat down with popular political activist, DeRay McKesson, for his podcast called, "Pod Save The People," to talk about her involvement in the Hillary Clinton campaign and the use of her platform to contribute to other good causes.

The conversation steered toward the cultural appropriation accusations that have followed Katy Perry throughout nearly her entire career.

During The Podcast, Perry Admitted To Appropriating Other Cultures.

She called out specific times when she has done so, telling McKesson,

Perry is referring to a scene in the video, released in 2014, when she sported cornrows while video chatting with a friend named "Jessica Thot."

The cornrows are a hairstyle historically worn by African Americans who are often penalized in public spaces for the same look that served as a stylish moment for Perry.


The singer also pointed out a time when she appropriated Japanese culture at the 2013 American Music Awards, saying,

Katy Perry's statements seemed heartfelt and it was obvious that cultural appropriation is something she has thought in-depth about on more than one occasion.

Still, Perry Veered Left When Discussing How She Prefers To Be Called Out For Appropriation.

Perry shared,

In short, Katy Perry seems to prefer that people online address her appropriation with "love," based on the comparison she made between her actual friends who corrected her and people she does not know online. This mindset shows she hasn't quite found her footing with how interactions work between privileged and oppressed people.

Though it should go without saying, people online who do not know Katy Perry, but are having their culture exploited for profit by her should not be held to the same standard as her close friends.

They are not obligated by history of relationship to approach her in a "quiet space" to help her learn about why exploiting them is wrong.

It is also worth pointing out that Perry did not require this same "quiet space" confrontation when she was blasting Taylor Swift during their now quelled beef. Perry wanted to stand up for herself against Taylor Swift, therefore she did.

And so it goes with the people of color whose culture Perry has repeatedly stolen for stages, long after the 2014 video when she said she "learned" why it was wrong.

Privileged people do not get to decided how oppressed people react to their own oppression. That's like slapping someone and then getting upset that they are upset about being slapped. You do not get to offend a group of people and then feel victimized that they do not approach you in "love."

It is white, rich, and famous privilege that even allows this utopian concept to be a situation for Perry to prefer in the first place — instead of taking full responsibility for the backlash that her behavior initiated.

It's sweet that Perry has such an appreciation for other cultures, but the pop star is going to need to do more than admit to her "mistakes." She needs to acknowledge that her actions create a reaction that she is not allowed to pick and choose her way out of.