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Gwen Stefani lashes out at cultural appropriation accusations as she claims she is Japanese

Rachel Lang

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Gwen Stefani lashes out at cultural appropriation accusations as she claims she is Japanese

Gwen Stefani has sensationally claimed she is Japanese while putting those that accused her of cultural appropriation for her 'Harajuku girls' era on blast.

Despite being born in the US to parents that both come from US-European backgrounds, Stefani insisted to Allure magazine that she is, in fact, Japanese.

The 'Hollaback Girl' singer revealed that she realised she was Japanese when she visited the Harajuku district of Tokyo.

Stefani recounted she said to herself 'my God, I'm Japanese and I didn't know it'.

She then doubled down on her statement, telling the interviewer: "I am, you know."

In the same interview, Stefani credited her dad - who, by the way, is Italian-American - the cause for her Japanese influence.

Her father worked for Japanese company Yamaha for 18 years, meaning she travelled to the Asian nation frequently when she was younger.

"That was my Japanese influence and that was a culture that was so rich with tradition, yet so futuristic [with] so much attention to art and detail and discipline and it was fascinating to me," Stefani said.

She then rounded on those who have accused her of cultural appropriation in the past.

"If [people are] going to criticise me for being a fan of something beautiful and sharing that, then I just think that doesn't feel right," Stefani explained.

"I think it was a beautiful time of creativity… a time of the ping-pong match between Harajuku culture and American culture."

The American singer added: "[It] should be OK to be inspired by other cultures because if we're not allowed then that's dividing people, right?"

Allure's senior editor Jesa Marie Calaor, who is first-generation Filipina American, conducted the bizarre interview.

Calaor revealed that Stefani repeatedly insisted that she was Japanese and once that she was 'a little bit of an Orange County girl, a little bit of a Japanese girl, a little bit of an English girl'.

She said that Stefani's 'words seemed to hang in the air between us'.

The singer has faced controversy over cultural appropriation claims regarding her earlier songs, videos and wider career involving the Harajuku Girls, a ‘posse’ of Japanese and Japanese-American dancers (Maya Chino, Jennifer Kita, Rino Nakasone and Mayuko Kitayama) first seen for the release of her Love. Angel. Music. Baby. album.

One piece by VICE dubbed the original album a ‘racist pop Frankenstein,’ while comedian Margaret Cho compared the use of dancers to a minstrel show. While the era came before Twitter, it’s become a talking point in recent years, with one user even describing her as the ‘queen of cultural appropriation’.

Featured Image Credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd / Alamy . Sydney Alford / Alamy.

Topics: Music, News, Celebrity

Rachel Lang
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