Katy Perry shoes removed from stores over blackface design – The Guardian
12 February 2019 MUSIC
Katy Perry Collections, the fashion line by the pop star, has removed footwear after they were accused of using blackface.
The sandals and loafers, designed with a face featuring prominent red lips, are no longer on sale at retailers including Walmart. A spokesperson for the company told TMZ: “In order to be respectful and sensitive the team is in the process of pulling the shoes.”
Katy Perry at the Grammy awards this week. Photograph: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
The designs are the latest in a series of controversial items of clothing to be criticised for allegedly using the red-lipped Sambo caricature that has long been regarded as racist.
Last week, Gucci removed a black polo neck jumper from its shops that featured red lips designed to be worn over the face in a balaclava style. In December, Prada removed a series of accessories that resembled black monkeys with red lips.
In 2016, high-end winter sports brand Moncler released a series of designs featuring a black face with prominent red lips. The brand said it was meant to be the face of a cartoon penguin, “whose message is first and foremost one of global friendship”, but removed the designs, adding: “We are deeply troubled if the face, seen out of its context, could be associated with past or present unacceptable, racially offensive caricatures.”
Perry has frequently been accused of cultural appropriation in the past, including for dressing like a geisha for an awards performance in 2013, and putting her hair in cornrows in the video for her single This Is How We Do. “I’ve made several mistakes,” she said in 2017. “I won’t ever understand, but I can educate myself and that’s what I’m trying to do along the way.”