Cultural Appropriation in Pop Music: Is That Racist?

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Pop music is full of influences, but when musicians start appropriating the aesthetic of other cultures for their performances, the line between art and racism can get pretty blurry. And with the Internet all a-Twitter with critics just WAITING for pop stars to slip up, more than a few have managed to offend by taking elements of cultures other than their own for some controversial performances. From black culture to Japan and the Middle East, no culture is safe from the sticky fingers of white performers.

Most recently, Avril Lavigne has managed to offend with her “Hello Kitty” video, but other stars like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Gwen Stefani have also managed to ruffle feathers in the course of their careers by taking visuals they may not have been welcome to in the first place. From Miley Cyrus twerking to Lady Gaga burqa-ing up, we’ve got some of the most controversial cultural appropriations in recent pop history…

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