The video for "Hello Kitty," the 5th single from the Avril Lavigne album you didn't realize was out, was released on YouTube Monday. It was quickly taken down after a backlash accusing Lavigne of exploiting Asian stereotypes.
What's so bad about the video (other than the obnoxious kitty kitty/pretty pretty hook and the unnecessary dubstep)? It's the clumsiest attempt to appropriate Japanese culture and fashion since Gwen Stefani's ill-advised Harajuku phase back in 2004. Maybe clumsier.
When Stefani put on a minstrel show back in the mid-2000s, she was promoting the Harajuku Girls, a group of women with real personalities and real J-pop credentials. Mrs. Chad Kroeger's backup dancers, on the other hand, just seem to be there as super-kawaii props.
Billboard called the video "an embarrassment in any language."
Lavigne has since responded to the backlash by defending her Japanophile credentials:
"RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!! I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan. I flew to Tokyo to shoot this video...specifically for my Japanese fans, WITH my Japanese label, Japanese choreographers AND a Japanese director IN Japan."
It's cool, you guys. She has Japanese friends.