Katy Perry receives backlash on “blackface” shoes

By Staff Writer Tamendy Raymond. Just last week, Gucci pulled an eight hundred and ninety-dollar sweater off the shelves because of its racist backlash. Following the Gucci sweater incident, American pop star singer, Katy Perry is being criticized for blackface designed shoes. How could a shoe be racist you may ask? Look no further than the shoe itself: by definition, it is a black face. The 34-year-old singer’s career, which took off in 2008 with the hit “I Kissed a Girl,” has been punctuated with accusations of cultural appropriation−even as Perry sought to align herself with the Black Lives Matter movement and issues involving Black women, according to the Washington Post. While some have defended Perry’s $129 shoes, the uproar is a particularly apprehensive moment for the singer/pop star. Katy Perry and her global rand apologized for the shoes and said it was part of a collection that was “envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism.” At the same time, pictures of the shoes in question, including a pair of high heels and sandals that featured large red lips, triangular blue nose, were shared by many who called out Perry and roasted her for the “racist design.” Perry debuted her shoe collection partnership with Global Brand Group back in 2017. The shoes are available on the brand’s website. Both styles include the same obtrude eyes, nose and full red lips. “I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface,” her brand management team stated. “Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from Katy Perry Collections.” Is there a rule that any product, service or person that is not black will create, promote, or apply any combination, but if it is black with a face it is deemed racist? If Perry only created a white version of the shoe would it have raised or remotely create the same speculation or attention? Following the backlash, Perry and her Global Brand Group apologized for the controversial shoes and said that it was “part of a collection [that was] envisioned as nod to modern art and surrealism,” New York Times reported. However, many people were not convinced. Kieran Boyce tweeted and said “ignorance is never a fashion statement! Apology not accepted.” Of course, others on Twitter felt that the criticism was unnecessary. “Can’t believe Katy Perry has had to withdraw her range of shoes because they’re racist.” Others agree and say that the shoe design was not racist. They’re just shoes with a face, it’s also worth noting that she customized tan colored shoes with a face. Perry states she had “a hard conversation” with a friend, who told her about “the power in black women’s hair and how beautiful it is and the struggle.” She continues and says “I listened and heard and I didn’t know, I won’t ever understand some of those things because of who I am. I will never understand, but I can educate myself and that’s what I am trying to do along the way.” I can not argue with or blame Perry for her controversial shoe, she didn’t understand or see the reason behind the “racist” shoe. Adding a face to any design could be sketchy and create many questions. In my opinion, shoes shouldn’t have a face on them. It raises questions and speculations in various ways, that one might not intend it to be. Moral of the story, let’s stop putting faces on shoes.

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