Katy Perry caught flack for her geisha-inspired performance of her new single "Unconditionally" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, wearing a revealing cross between a kimono and a Chinese cheongsam, according to Jezebel, but fellow pop star Lady Gaga recently jumped to the singer's defense.
"Maybe it's because 'Unconditionally' means you're supposed to love no matter what and geishas are paid?" Lady Gaga said to Carson Daly during an AMP Radio interview on Nov 25. "I think people are generally too sensitive and they should just leave her be, but you know, I'm not really the person to ask."
Perry sang "Unconditionally" amid cherry blossoms, giant fans and a Shinto shrine, taiko drummers playing in the background for her Japanese-inspired production. Not long after her performance aired, critics and fans alike began accusing the 27-year-old pop star of appropriating Japanese and East Asian cultures.
"Why are you dressed like a geisha Katy Perry?" @CHEL_seeyaa tweeted, according to the Huffington Post. "Why? For What? #thisisracist like horribly obviously racist," while Vulture writer Jesse David Fox compared Perry's performance to Selena Gomez's "Hindu-referencing Billboard Awards performance and, of course, Miley Cyrus's VMAs performance."
Gaga also performed that night, though she didn't pay homage to a particular culture, but rather, two iconic American figures, Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy. Though she's no stranger to controversial stage antics herself, Gaga insisted to Carson Daly that she was in no way trying to comment on the recent 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.
"We were trying, actually, to steer the performance away from Marilyn, that was my attempt! Pretty terrible attempt," she said, according to Radio.com. "It's really more just about any kind of scandal. I mean, there's been lots of scandals in the White House, but you know, there's scandals everywhere else - in pop culture and celebrity life - so I was doing sort of a comment about that."