We need to talk about Avril Lavigne’s new music video, for her song “Hello Kitty.”
The song and the video, which are not actually affiliated with the beloved character, have come under fire since it first appeared on YouTube on April 22—with some people calling the over-the-top imagery to Japanese culture insensitive, ridiculous and downright racist.
The Canadian songstress laughed off these accusations—literally.
“RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!! I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan,” she tweeted. “I flew to Tokyo to shoot this video specifically for my Japanese fans, WITH my Japanese label, Japanese choreographers AND a Japanese director IN Japan.”
RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!! I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan. I flew to Tokyo to shoot this video…— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilLavigne) April 24, 2014
…specifically for my Japanese fans, WITH my Japanese label, Japanese choreographers AND a Japanese director IN Japan.— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilLavigne) April 24, 2014
Okay. Whoa there, Avril. Let’s stop right there—saying your video isn’t racist because a select number of people in Japan happened to be involved is not the strongest argument we've ever heard.
Now let’s talk about why it could be construed as racist. In the video, Avril teaches us a bunch of new Japanese words, while continually repeating the term “Kawaii” (which is the Japanese term for “cuteness”) before every chorus.
We thought we’d reciprocate by teaching Avril a new term in English—cultural appropriation.
Cultural appropriation is taking element’s one culture and adapting it—and often times, creating a trend and almost a mockery of it—without permission. It’s the same reason it was equally offensive when Katy Perry did a Geisha-inspired performance, or Selena Gomez stepped out with a bindi on her forehead or Karlie Kloss walked the runway in a headdress.
Racism aside, we have a lot of issues with this song and video. For example, did you know she co-wrote the frustratingly catchy tune with her husband, Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger? We’re wondering which lyrics she needed help with.
“Hello Kitty, you’re so pretty” is some next-level rhyming. The lyrics “Let’s all slumber party/Like a fat kid on a pack of Smarties/Someone chuck a cupcake at me” are pretty genius. Almost up there with “He was a Sk8er Boi, she said see you later boy.”
Plus, there’s the fake guitar playing. Why?
When she isn’t “playing” the guitar she spends, like, half the video standing or jumping around in front of her dancers while they do all the work. The whole thing is just awkward, to say the least.
Did we mention the worst part of it all (well, besides the racism… which Avril isn’t aware of anyway)? It’s shot in a candy store—and she continually opens and touches the candy. With her bare hands!
Seriously, pass the Purell.
Have you seen the controversial video yet? Check it out below—and let us know what you think in the comments!