Katy Perry has been doing some profoundly confessional promo for her latest album, “Witness,” sharing everything from an in-depth therapy session to a four-day, “Big Brother” style livestream of her life.
On Saturday, during her livestream, Perry sat down with activist DeRay McKesson for a conversation about race on his podcast “Pod Save the People,” in which she acknowledged past instances of cultural appropriation in her career.
Perry has been called out several times over the years for appropriating everything from cornrows and slicked down baby-hairs to the kimono in an offensive Japanese-themed performance at the American Music Awards in 2013.
In the clip above, which has been making the rounds on Twitter, Perry talked about how a friend explained to her why wearing her hair in cornrows for her “This Is How We Do” video in 2013 offended some people.
“She told me about the power of black women’s hair, and how beautiful it is, and the struggle. And I listened, and I heard, and I didn’t know,” Perry told McKesson.
“And I will never understand some of those things because of who I am... but I can educate myself, and that’s what I’m trying to do along the way.”
The “Swish Swish” singer also referenced her AMAs performance.
“Even in my intention to appreciate Japanese culture, I did it wrong with a performance,” Perry added. “And I didn’t know that I did it wrong until I heard people saying I did it wrong.”
Perry went on to suggest that the “clapback” culture of the internet is not conducive to learning about why cultural appropriation and other forms of racism are wrong.
“Sometimes it takes someone to say, out of compassion, out of love, ‘Hey, this is where the origin is,” the singer explained.
However good Perry and McKesson’s intentions were, some people on Twitter were not at all impressed by the two-minute snippet. Users argued that it was just a shallow attempt to promote her album, and called her out for “asking black people to be nicer to her” for her past blunders, rather than holding herself accountable:
For his part, McKesson has responded to some of the criticism of the interview on Twitter by encouraging people to watch the entire interview before passing judgment.