Hundreds of people recently took to Twitter to complain about Avril Lavigne’s new song Hello Kitty being racist. However, others have defended the decision to use the colorful, girly, cupcake style entertainment in her new music video. For many, the new track is just downright terrible.
The new music video involves four deadpan Japanese girls dancing in the background, and copying a few moves that the Canadian singer makes. There are many other references to Japanese entertainment culture, including the cartoon Hello Kitty. The whole point seems to be to emphasize the culture in Japan, and a number of people have defended that stating it is just like the entertainment culture of the country.
However, many fans and critics alike have viewed the decision as racist. It echoes similar complaints from when Gwen Stefani did something very much the same a few years ago. In fact, the whole video was so much like Stefani’s various music videos that were slammed by critics, mainly Margaret Cho who stated the videos were offering a negative stereotype of Asian women. Those criticisms are something that the Skater Boi singer should have learned from before creating the video. Of course, there is the question of whether the Stefani comments had any weight to them.
Some fans decided to share the stereotyping that the singer had done throughout her career. It all started with Skater Boi, when she pretended to be the “skater girl.” While that was her look for some time, she developed into the pop culture. However, Lavigne seems to have stepped across the line from stereotyping to racism with her new Hello Kitty song and video.
The 29-year-old singer did take to Twitter to defend her music video. It was all done in Japan, and specifically for her Japanese audience. According to her, there is nothing racist about it considering how much she loves the culture of the country.
Arguably, the worst part of the video is the music. Its bubble-gum pop is miles away from the Lavigne fans knew and loved during her first two albums. She has started channeling some of the current popular music stars of the day, like Katy Perry and Kesha. It may show that she can move with the times, but it can also affect her reach as she completely changes the look and style of her music.
Some fans have stood by the Nobody’s Home singer, and defended the racism remarks. There are some who believe the comment is thrown around too much now, and that could definitely be the case. Apart from overemphasizing the Japanese culture, there is nothing offensive within the video that could make it in any way racist. That does not give people a reason to be angry, but surely only those that are overly stereotyped really have a reason to be angry about it. Surely it cannot be racist though considering the fact that the dance movers were choreographed and the video was produced by Japanese people.
As fans like to put it, some people just want to hate and hating the 29-year-old singer seems to be the thing to do right now. There is every right for some to be annoyed at the stereotyping within the new Hello Kitty video, but the stereotyping does not make Lavigne’s song racist.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham