Gwen Stefani revisits ‘cultural appropriation’ claims for ‘racist’ Japanese videos


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Gwen Stefani has responded to accusations of “cultural appropriation” and “racism” for her Harajuku Girls era.

The popstar has spoken about these claims before, regarding her previous songs, videos, and wider career involving the Harajuku Girls, a “ bunch ” of Japanese and Japanese-American dancers (Maya Chino, Jennifer Kita, Rino Nakasone and Mayuko Kitayama) seen for the first time for the release of her Love. Angel. Music. Baby. album.

This often elicits negative reactions, with people accusing Stefani of making Japanese culture his own. Following the release of Let me reintroduce myself and before her new record, she defended herself again.

Stefani, 51, recounted PAPER: “If we didn’t buy, sell and trade our crops, we wouldn’t be so beautiful, you know? We learn from each other, we share from each other, we grow from each other. And all these rules only divide us more and more.

She added: ‘I think we grew up in a time when we didn’t have so many rules. We didn’t have to follow a story that was being edited for us via social media, we just had so much more freedom.

Gwen Stefani and the Harajuku Girls.  (PA Images)PA Images

The singer became interested in Japan from a young age, from her father traveling to performing with No Doubt. “It is a world apart. And at that point it was even further away because you couldn’t see it on the internet. I don’t think a younger generation can even imagine what it’s like not to have access to the world, ”she said.

“I never had dancers with No Doubt. I never had to change my costume. I’ve never had to do all of those fun things for girls that I always love to do. So I got the idea that I would have a group of girls – because I never had to hang out with girls – and it would be Japanese girls, Harajuku, because these are the girls I love. . They are my friends. This is where I would be if I had my dream come true, I could go live there and I could go hang out in Harajuku, ”Stefani explained.

One piece per VICE dubbed the original album a “ racist pop Frankenstein, ” while comedian Margaret Cho likened the use of dancers to a minstrel performance. As the era preceded Twitter, it has become a topic of discussion in recent years, with one user even describing her as the “ queen of cultural appropriation. ”

In a previous interview with Billboard, Stefani said: “ I get a little defensive when people [call it cultural appropriation], because if we didn’t allow ourselves to share our cultures, what would we be? You are proud of your culture and have traditions and then you share them for new things to be created.

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