Katy Perry’s Fashion Line Accused of Blackface

Katy Perry released her highly-anticipated spring line for her company, Katy Perry Collections, in the summer of 2018. This fashion line featured numerous new shoe designs including a couple of shoe styles that have since been removed from the collection.

The designs Ora Face Block Heel and Rue Face Slip-On Loafers were both removed on Feb. 11 due to their alleged resemblance to blackface. Both of these designs feature triangle noses, large eyes and exaggerated red lips, features common in the world of blackface.

Since the removal of these shoes from her line, Katy Perry has received an immense amount of backlash as people felt offended by her designs and perceived her as insensitive.

Katy released a statement about the situation. She mentioned the design was also available in eight other colors (blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red and silver), and all of the colors chosen were reminiscent of modern art and surrealism. She also stated that “[she] was saddened when it was brought to [her] attention that [the shoes were] being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface.” She continued by saying, “our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from Katy Perry Collections.”

Katy Perry is no stranger to criticism. In her music video for her single, “This is How We Do,” she sported cornrows and slicked down baby hairs resembling edges, a look that wasn’t received well by fans and other viewers. She was also advised to remove a portion of her video for the song “Dark Horse” which featured a pendant with the word Allah, the Arabic word for God, surrounded by flames.

 

Courtesy: Baeble Music

In her statement, Katy also said “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’m trying to do along the way.”

The day after the shoes were removed, she continued using her hashtag #tuesdayshoesday on Twitter, tweeting a picture of her shoes named “The Cupid.” Her tweet read, “This #TuesdayShoesday is dedicated to the KatyCats, who I adore, and who always know where my [heart] is.”

Katy Perry is also not the only designer under fire recently for offensive clothing or merchandise. Gucci released an $890 black sweater that included a mouth hole lined with thick red lips. Prada also pulled products from their stores that were monkey-like figures with black faces and large red lips. Both companies issued apologies, Gucci’s creative director saying “The fact that, contrarily to my intentions, that turtle-neck jumper evoked racist imagery causes me the greatest grief… But I am aware that sometimes, our actions can end up with causing unintentional effects.” Prada’s statement read “Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation."

All three companies have been under intense scrutiny, but all stated their regret and claimed that creating racist products was never their goal.