Gwen Stefani accused of cultural appropriation after this outing on Japanese culture

Gwen Stefani accused of cultural appropriation after this outing on Japanese culture

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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Gwen Stefani attends the 2022 Matrix Awards at Ziegfeld Ballroom on October 26, 2022 in New York City.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Gwen Stefani attends the 2022 Matrix Awards at Ziegfeld Ballroom on October 26, 2022 in New York City.

PEOPLE-“ I am japanese. This phrase from artist Gwen Stefani has rained down criticism. Of Irish and Italian descent, the singer was promoting her beauty brand GXVE when she said, in an interview with the magazine pace, posted Tuesday, January 10: My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know that. »

The 53-year-old star, whose Italian-American father worked for Yamaha and traveled between California and Japan, describes in the article the influence of Japanese culture on his childhood.
It was a culture so rich in tradition, but also so futuristic, with such attention to art, detail and discipline and it was fascinating to me. she says.

She says her father always came back with anecdotes and stories about Japanese street performers dressing up as Elvis Presley and women with colored hair. As an adult, she traveled to Tokyo’s Harajuku, an area of ​​Shibuya known for its eclectic clothing stores and cosplay shops. That’s when she said to herself: My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it “.

Accusations of cultural appropriation since 2004

Adding, immediately afterwards, that his relationship to Japanese culture is ” innocent » and that she defines herself as a « great fan “. But it did not take more to add a layer to the accusations of cultural appropriation that Gwen Stefani has been the subject of since the release of her album. Love. Angel. Music. Baby.in 2004.

During the promotional tour for her record, four Japanese dancers accompanied her: Maya Chino, known as Love, Jennifer Kita, known as Angel, Rino Nakasone, known as Music, and Mayuko Kitayama, known as Baby. And the Tokyo neighborhood where she had her revelation ultimately served as inspiration for her fragrance line, Harajuku Lovers.

The journalist ofpaceJesa Marie Calaor, who is Filipino-American, herself points out in the article this identification which she seems to consider inappropriate: “Like Stefani, I am not Japanese. But I’m an Asian woman living in America, which involves sobering realities at a time when hatred toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is on the rise. »

I envy anyone who can claim to be part of this vibrant and creative community while avoiding the part of the story that can be painful or scary. “, she adds.

“It’s not appreciation”

On social networks, many voices were raised to denounce the words of Gwen Stefani.

One of them writes: The white culture of thinking that you can identify as a person of color just because you like something about that culture. It’s not appreciation. It is exactly theft and erasure that live at the root of genocide, slavery and colonialism. »

Another wrote: ” My God, imagine being an Asian American editor and hearing Gwen Stefani say over and over again, ‘I’m Japanese.’ People like Gwen Stefani can adopt all the cool things they want from Asian cultures, but they won’t have to worry about being pushed off a subway platform. [de New York] because of their race. » A comment in reference to the 2022 murder of an Asian woman in the Times Square subway station.

As for the essayist Roxane Gay, she simply concluded: ” Gwen Stefani’s publicist must be busy today. »

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