She has long been accused of cultural appropriation, but that hasn’t stopped Gwen Stefani’s career. The singer entered the music scene as the lead singer of rock band No Doubt in the 1990s and after the band achieved mega-success Stefani ventured out as a solo artist where she dominated the pop scene. She borrowed looks and manners from Hip Hop and had quite a movement with her group of Japanese “Harajuku Girls” who traveled with her from coast to coast. Stefani donned a traditional Japanese outfit and changed her makeup to suit the style, but not everyone was happy with the look.

For decades Stefani has faced backlash and criticism, even as recently as her music video for “Slow Clap” starring Saweetie, but the pop star sat down with it. Paper magazine to address the controversy, citing his “deep fascination” with Japan and “inspired” by culture.

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“If you read the actual lyrics [in ‘What You Waiting For?’], it’s about being a fan of Japan and how if I do good I get to go back, “she told the post.” I’ve never had dancers with No Doubt. I never had to change my costume. I’ve never had to do all of those fun things for girls that I always love to do. So I got the idea that I would have a group of girls – because I never had to hang out with girls – and it would be Japanese girls, Harajuku, because these are the girls I love. . They are my friends. This is where I would be if I had my dream come true, I could go live there and I could go hang out in Harajuku. “

Paper noted that years ago, actress and comedian Margaret Cho compared the Harajuku Girls with Stefani to a minstrel show. “If we didn’t buy, sell, and trade our crops, we wouldn’t be so beautiful, you know?” Stefani said. “We learn from each other, we share from each other, we grow from each other. And all these rules divide us more and more … I think we grew up in a time when we didn’t have any. not as much. We didn’t have to follow a story that was being edited for us via social media, we just had so much more freedom. “