Gwen Stefani Makes No Apologies for “Harajuku Girls”

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December 9, 2014
6:00 a.m.

Story Courtesy Of Kelly Conaboy


As you might remember, Gwen Stefani spent 2004 bedecked with nameless young Asian women in a supposed celebration of Japanese culture that added up to something more like an awkward parade of racist tropes for which she was widely criticized. Recently, TIME gave her a chance to apologize for, uh, all of that.

In case you don’t remember:

Surprisingly—somewhat reminiscent of when Taylor Swift was given the chance to apologize for not tackling poverty in her NYC tourism theme “Welcome to New York”—Stefani did not take the apology bait.

TIME asks, “Looking back on Love. Angel. Music. Baby., do you regret the Harajuku Girls given the criticism you received?” She doesn’t! From TIME:

No. There’s always going to be two sides to everything. For me, everything that I did with the Harajuku Girls was just a pure compliment and being a fan. You can’t be a fan of somebody else? Or another culture? Of course you can. Of course you can celebrate other cultures. That’s what Japanese culture and American culture have done. It’s like I say in the song [“Harajuku Girls”]: it’s a ping-pong match. We do something American, they take it and they flip it and make it so Japanese and so cool. And we take it back and go, “Whoa, that’s so cool!” That’s so beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing in the world, how our cultures come together. I don’t feel like I did anything but share that love. You can look at it from a negative point of view if you want to, but get off my cloud. Because, seriously, that was all meant out of love.

You can’t be a fan of somebody else? Or another culture? And loudly appropriate its stereotypes for an album and clothing line? Of course you can. And Gwen Stefani does not apologize.

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