News — November 26, 2013 at 2:36 am

Was The Katy Perry Geisha Performance At AMA Racist?


Miley Cyrus may have grabbed the majority of headlines with her Virtual Kitten performance, but it’s Katy Perry’s ‘Geisha’ performance of ‘Unconditionally’ that is courting controversy with claims that it is racist stereotyping. 

“If you don’t think Katy Perry was racist — let me ask you, what if she had performed in blackface? Perhaps a costume isn’t the same as changing skin color to you, but it is agonizingly close for me,” wrote Ravi Chandra, M.D. in a story entitled “Yes, Katy Perry’s Performance Was Racist, Here’s Why” for Psychology Today. “I remember Mickey Rooney in buckteeth for his role as Mr. Yunioshi in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s;’ Jonathan Pryce in Yellowface in ‘Miss Saigon;’ Gwen Stefani in her Harajuku phase. … Racism is defined as prejudice plus power — I think Katy Perry’s performance meets the criteria for a yellow-face, racist performance.”

Further strong words come from Wall Street Journal’s Jeff Yang who was bothered by the lyrics of Katy’s song too:

“The thing is, while a bucket of toner can strip the geisha makeup off of Perry’s face, nothing can remove the demeaning and harmful iconography of the lotus blossom from the West’s perception of Asian women — a stereotype that presents them as servile, passive, and as Perry would have it, ‘unconditional’ worshippers of their men, willing to pay any price and weather any kind of abuse in order to keep him happy,” he said. 

Katy Perry currently has two songs, Roar and her new single Unconditionally, in the Top 30 Asia charts

Katy Perry Geisha