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John Mayer preemptively defends new video against cultural appropriation claims

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Jesse Grant/Getty Images

John Mayer is no stranger to controversy — especially following his now-infamous interviews with Playboy and Rolling Stone.

That’s why the “Love On the Weekend” singer is addressing some of the criticisms he might face when the music video for his new song “Still Feel Like Your Man” comes out.

Talking to the New York Times, Mayer said the upcoming video, which features a “disco dojo” comprising of a bamboo forest, a woman in a geisha outfit, and two people in giant panda suits does not fall under cultural appropriation, a criticism brought up when white artists use (often stereotypical) elements of other cultures stylistically without acknowledging the deeper meaning it might have within that culture.

“I think we were as sensitive as we could possibly be,” said Mayer in the interview, aware that this is an issue that might come up. “It was discussed at every juncture.”

He went on to say, “Part of cultural appropriation is blindness… I’m on the right side of the line because it’s an idea for the video that has a very multiethnic casting, and nobody who is white or non-Asian is playing an Asian person.”

Mayer continued, “Do I think that someone is going to tweet that this is cultural appropriation? Yes… It’s going to be interesting to see.”

Mister Whitmore, the director of the video, also commented on the critique saying that both he and Mayer really thought about how to take on the “fantasy element” of the Mayer’s “ancient Japanese R&B” concept, which the singer describes as “disco dojo.”

“I hope there’s an understanding that we were sensitive to it,” said Whitmore.

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