Gwen Stefani: Harajuku Girl Accessories Were 'A Compliment'

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Ten years after the release of Love. Angel. Music. Baby., Gwen Stefani is entering the cultural appropriation debate and defending her use of the Harajuku Girls, the group of Japanese backup dancers that accompanied her on tour and throughout the promotion of the album.

As Stefani recently told Time:

“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.”

Pop stars love to breakdown cultural appropriation arguments this way, as if their only options as “fans” are to include cartoonish depictions of a culture or ignore a culture completely. This is wrong! You absolutely can pay homage to different cultures, but—while you’re doing it—maybe consider the implications of assembling a group of Japanese/Japanese-American backup dancers (remember—the Harajuku Girls are something Gwen Stefani created), giving them new names and instructing them to follow you around like silent robot dolls.

Stefani continued:

“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.”

Yeah, stop making Gwen Stefani think.

[ Gossip Cop]

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Photos via Getty, AP.

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