All artists push the envelope of what society considers acceptable at least one time or another in their career. Now, singer Katy Perry is making headlines for doing just that after her controversial performance at the American Music Awards. The platinum-selling singer performed her latest single, “Unconditionally,” from her album Prism, which as released Oct. 18.
While the song itself has become quite popular, skyrocketing to the Top 10 on the Billboard Pop chart, last night’s performance may have slightly snubbed the song. Perry, who was also the opening act for the AMAs, chose to dress as a geisha for the performance. Adorned in a pink kimono with distinctive and bold eye make-up, the singer definitely resembled the likes of a traditional geisha. She even tailored her choreographed routine to include traditional dance associated with the custom.
For those who aren’t fully aware of what the title geisha is, here the gist: A geisha is categorized as a traditional Japanese female entertainer. They typically serve as a hostess for parties or events, and possess skills of various Japanese performing arts. Of course, the arts include classical music, along with dance and games.
However, that’s exactly the crux of the problem. The 29-year-old singer isn’t quite Japanese, and she isn’t exactly the type of singer who falls into the classical category. So, her geisha attire basically rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way. In a nutshell, some found it downright disrespectful and racist. Although, its safe to say that most likely wasn’t her intent, some have accused the “Fireworks” singer of ‘appropriating Asian culture,’ and ‘mocking custom,’ reports Mirror UK.
A number of fans took to Twitter under the AMA hash-tag to express their disdain for the ‘Roar’ singer’s performance. Unfortunately, the remarks were quite harsh toward Perry.
— Katie Brownlie (@katiekraze) November 25, 2013
Loved the cultural authenticity of Katy Perry's #AMAs performance. She nailed the traditionally ignorant costume of a white pop singer.
— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) November 25, 2013
— radical desi (@radicaldesi) November 25, 2013
— Kalaya'an Mendoza (@KalaMendoza) November 25, 2013
Although Perry tweeted fans forewarning them that she’d be ‘taking them on a trip,’ she mostly like didn’t see her actions as offensive. Perry recently stated that she had some familiarity with the culture and customs after her family gave shelter to Japanese lodgers when she was younger. However, some fans, bloggers and critics collectively feel that still wasn’t enough to justify her performance.
Perry’s camp hasn’t responded to the allegations as of yet.