Avril Lavigne’s video for her new single, “Hello Kitty,” is a bit of a head-scratcher. As the pop-punk princess attempts to sway her Hot Topic minions into a new, sugar-coated world of synthesizers and cutesy pop-rap — “Someone chuck a cupcake at me?” Huh? — she’s also being accused of appropriating Japanese culture in a totally racist way.
Lavigne’s video features expressionless Japanese backup dancers following the Canadian singer around Tokyo, where she frolics through a candy store and giggles over sushi. Is she using Asian culture as a prop? Pandering to her fan base there? Or simply trying to emulate Gwen Stefani’s career in the most obvious way possible?
Lavigne views “Hello Kitty” as an homage. It’s an expression of love, she says. She took to Twitter to explain:
Alas, we’re still waiting for her explanation for that laughable faux guitar work in the video.