Katy Perry has had a troubled lead up to her new album Witness. She’s been plagued with controversy and that’s taken away a lot of the attention from her actual music and forced Katy to answer a ton of questions about everything else going around her. During her livestream of her entire weekend to promote Witness, Katy sat down with famed Black Lives Matter activist Deray Mckesson to discuss a topic that has long been attached to her and her career: cultural appropriation.
Katy pleaded ignorance to much of the controversy that has bitten her over perceived appropriation in her career, and openly admitted that she both benefits from white privilege and is guilty of appropriation.
“I listened and I heard and I didn’t know,” she 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.”
One of the most prominent examples was Katy eating watermelon and wearing cornrows in the “This Is How We Do” video back in 2014. Katy said it wasn’t until a friend educated her that she truly understood how impactful that statement and imagery was.
“She told me about the power in black women’s hair and how beautiful it is and the struggle,” Perry said. “I didn’t know that I did it wrong until I heard people saying that I did it wrong. It takes someone to say, out of compassion, out of love, ‘Hey, this is what the origin is.'”
Katy said that was a turning point, being approached in different matter, not with just anger but compassion. “It’s hard to hear those clap backs sometimes,” she said. “Your ego just wants to turn from them.”
She spoke more about the issues, and admitted “I have lots of white privilege.” Finally, she said she wants the segregation of the industry to end and for everybody to co-exist, regardless of race. “I don’t want to live in a segregated world, especially in music. I’ve been able to collaborate with Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Juicy J, Migos. How can I collaborate with people and lift them up and give them that spotlight. How can I lift them up in a way that’s good.”