Katy Perry is NOT holding back during her “Witness World Wide” livestream.
In an interview with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, Katy tackled the topic of cultural appropriation in relation to her career — and highlighted two specific moments for which she was criticized for disrespecting both African-American and Asian culture.
“I’ve made several mistakes, even in, like, the ‘This Is How We Do’ video — about how I wore my hair,” the 32-year-old pop star confessed — referencing her choice to wear cornrows. Katy then recalled a “hard conversation” with writer and friend Cleo Wade in which she asked, “Why can’t I wear my hair that way?”
“She told me about the power in black women’s hair, and how beautiful it is, and the struggle,” the “Swish Swish” singer revealed, “and I listened. And I heard. And I didn’t know. And I won’t ever understand some of those things because of who I am — I will never understand, but I can…educate myself, and that’s what I’m trying to do along the way.”
Katy also opened up about performing in traditional geisha garb during the 2013 American Music Awards. “Even in, you know, my intention to appreciate Japanese culture, I did it wrong with a performance, and I didn’t know that I did it wrong until I heard people saying I did it wrong.”
But she notes that there’s a difference between helpful education and hurtful “clapbacks.”
“Sometimes that’s what it takes, is it takes someone to say — out of compassion, out of love — ‘Hey…this is where the origin is,’ you know, and ‘do you understand?’ And not just, like, a clapback, you know? Because it’s hard to hear those clapbacks sometimes. And your ego just wants to turn from them. I’ve been so grateful to have great teachers and great friends who will really hold me accountable.”
While it’s commendable that Katy is owning up to her offensive behaviour from the past, not everyone is buying what the “Bon Appétit” performer is serving.
Even DeRay Mckesson is feeling the heat of the social media fire the candid conversation has fuelled and is having to defend the interview in this series of tweets: