Avril Lavigne this week debuted a music video for her new single “Hello Kitty.” The video’s heightened portrayal of Japan’s J-Pop culture combined with bizarre imagery has caused a stir, leading to the official video’s removal from YouTube.
The video depicts Lavigne singing her song while dressed in a colorful “lolita“-type get-up, complete with a cupcake-emblazoned skirt. Behind her dance four dolled-up Asian women wearing their own strange clothing – though dancing may be too generous a term for the backup dancers’ movements. The video even includes a scene in which an over-excited Lavigne visits a sushi bar. The entire effect is something more reminiscent of a Katy Perry video than one from Avril Lavigne.
The video was immediately criticized by critics and fans alike. The colorful, candy-laden images are being described as an embarrassment. Some critics are going as far as calling the video’s imagery subtly racist for its simplistic portrayal of Japanese culture.
The sharp reaction to the video was highlighted this week on social media, where jokes about Lavigne were plentiful:
My worst acid trip was less intense than the new Avril Lavigne video
— Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) April 23, 2014
I join with fans of music everywhere in shock & sadness. Avril Lavigne was one of the great artists of a generation prior to this video.
— B. Dolan (@BDolanSFR) April 23, 2014
FOUR PEOPLE were required to write Avril Lavigne's "Hello Kitty." FOUR ADULT PEOPLE.
— Scaachi Koul (@Scaachi) April 23, 2014
Avril Lavigne is an adult who thought everything we saw in the Hello Kitty video was a good choice.
— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) April 23, 2014
Avril Lavigne's "Hello Kitty" music video has critics talking! "Even the racism feels indifferent," says Todd VanDerWerff of The AV Club!
— Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti) April 23, 2014
— Vulture (@vulture) April 23, 2014
you kinda have to respect chad kroeger and avril lavigne's lifelong commitment to producing garbage
— ∴*✧*Anamanaguchi*✧*∴ (@anamanaguchi) April 23, 2014
The backlash against the video seems to have caused Vevo to panic. The official video was taken down from YouTube within hours. The video can still be viewed on Lavigne’s website, where fans of the singer have posted dozens of comments supporting the song and video. Of course, this being the internet, the video can also still be found all over YouTube.
Image via AvrilLavigne.com