Gwen Stefani faces criticism over ‘I’m Japanese’ comment in Allure magazine interview

Gwen Stefani faces criticism over ‘I’m Japanese’ comment in Allure magazine interview

Written by Leah Dolan, CNN

Music star Gwen Stefani has been called out for comments she made about her affinity for Japan during an interview with Allure magazine while promoting her beauty brand GXVE.

In the article published Tuesday, Stefani, 53, spoke at length about her Japanese influences, at one point telling writer Jesa Marie Calaor while recalling a trip to Japan, “My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it.” .

The comment came after Stefani was asked about her previous cosmetic endeavors – specifically her 2008 perfume collection Harajuku Lovers. Released at the end of her solo album Love.Angel.Music.Baby, the marketing and imagery of the Harajuku Lovers perfume and original album borrowed heavily from the colorful Japanese subculture.

In the early 2000s, Stefani would regularly appear on the red carpet with an entourage of four Japanese dancers Maya Chino (nicknamed “Love”), Jennifer Kita (“Angel”), Rino Nakasone (“Music”) and Mayuko Kitayama (“Child”).

Stefani during the 2004 American Music Awards with her Japanese backup dancers. Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Stefani has been criticized in recent years for her perceived appropriation of Japanese culture during the 2000s. Calaor, who is Filipino American, asked Stefani if ​​she had learned anything from this period in her career. In response, Stefani talked about her father’s regular business trips to Japan, explaining that he would come back with stories that were “fascinating” to her, before telling Calaor that she thought she was Japanese when visited the Harajuku area of ​​Tokyo for the first time. She later also referred to herself as a “super fan” of the culture.

“If (people) are going to criticize me for being a fan of something beautiful and sharing it, then I just think I don’t feel good,” she told Calaor, in defense of her Harajuku era. “I think it was a beautiful creative time… a time of ping-pong between Harajuku culture and American culture,” Stefani continued. “If we didn’t buy and sell and trade our crops, we wouldn’t have so much beauty, you know?”

Stefani’s representatives did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment about the article or the subsequent social media response.

Calaor underscored her concern about Stefani’s comments, especially against the “reversing” backdrop of growing racism against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in the United States. “I envy anyone who can claim to be a part of this vibrant and creative community but avoids the part of the narrative that might be painful or scary,” she wrote.

On social networks, negative reactions to Stefani’s interview range from surprise to anger. “Gwen Stefani’s publicist must be busy today,” read a tweet from American author Roxane Gay, while The Cut reporter Olivia Truffaut-Wong accused Stefani of using “Asian women as props to help her get rich “.

According to Allure, Stefani’s team reached out the day after the interview, saying Calaor had “misunderstood” what Stefani was trying to say, but did not respond to a request for a follow-up interview or offer clarification on the record. of comments.

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