Katy Perry’s new sound and edgy look has received negative attention. With damaging accusations of “culture appropriation” to being accused of using racial slurs, things with Perry is… bittersweet. While her character is taking quite a hit from fans and activists alike, her music is dominating the charts. It would be criminal of me to say Perry isn’t a culture vulture, but we should consider that she’s an effective one. Let’s remember, Katy Perry rose to fame with “I Kissed A Girl,” a synthy pop-rock tune that flourished in spite of the urban club tracks that dominated 2008. Always testing the boundaries of mainstream etiquette, there’s is nothing surprising about her current image. There is always a new trajectory for the Lady Gagas’ and Rihannas’ of the world, so why not Katy Perry? Reinvention is necessary.
If you ask me, Katy Perry isn’t a an appropriator, just a mediocre actress. Throughout her career she has constructed these half-baked characters who are culturally stereotypical. The Dominatrix-ish sense in “Wide-Awake” to the Eqyptian empress in “Dark Horse is just a glimpse of the over-the top characters she assumes. Sometimes cheesy, Perry does give easy-to-swallow music and performances with dedication that’s unmatched. Unlike her pop star counterparts, she doesn’t make herself elusive in the millennial pool of eclecticism. A part of me respects Perry for her unapologetic attitude, yet I am no different than the rest of the internet that squirms at that dreadful video of Perry playing air drums around Migos. She seems too genuine and way more consistent than folks like Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift who have also been accused of being culturally insincere. So is Katy Perry innocent? No, but a worthy guilty pleasure.