I imagine Gwen Stefani lives a pretty simple life. She sleeps in every morning, gets up to shower off whatever diseases Blake Shelton gave her the night before, and then looks in the mirror and decides how racist she wants to be that day.
Recently, Stefani has gone with a more toned-down racist aesthetic. Her ridiculous Harajuku Lovers brand isn’t as big as it once was, so it’s difficult for Stefani to really spread around how racist and culturally insensitive she truly is. Luckily, she’s found a new outlet to express herself in. Last week, her Harajuku Lovers expanded into dog clothing, with a line exclusively at Petco.
The Harajuku Lovers brand originally started when Stefani released her 2004 album “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” and hired a group of Asian women to follow her around while promoting her album and new Harajuku-inspired look. Stefani’s Harajuku look and the styling of the four women went on to become a successful clothing and perfume line.
A white pop star appropriating another culture isn’t anything new. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Madonna have been doing it for years. But only those with pure, unfiltered ignorance like Stefani and Miley Cyrus go that extra step and fully drown themselves in the culture and use their people as props.
Stefani’s Harajuku girl entourage was her background dancers and followed her around during interviews. The four women reportedly spoke English but were only allowed to speak Japanese in public. They constantly wore schoolgirl uniforms, which San Francisco comedian Margaret Cho compared to blackface. Time Magazine even criticized Stefani for treating the women like “puppets” and “pets” when she renamed them Love, Angel, Music and Baby after her album title.
I don’t know why people always brush over Gwen Stefani’s racist past. Whenever I mention her name around my friends, there’s always mention of how she never ages and they want her to start making quality music again. No one ever says, “Remember when Gwen Stefani was racist as hell, treated women of color as props and went on to make a huge brand out of it and no one batted an eye?”
Now, Stefani’s new dog clothing line may not be racist by itself, but the clothes are based off of Stefani’s Harajuku brand; a brand that’s based off of stereotypes and a time when Stefani used women as props. Her Harajuku Lovers brand still uses the Love, Angel, Music and Baby caricatures as their main design, and the advertising for the canine clothes uses the four Harajuku girls as well.
Unless you think your dog is really into cultural appropriation, you should probably stay away from Stefani’s doggy couture line. And on the off chance that your dog actually is into cultural appropriation, you should probably get a new dog. No human or dog should be dressing up in clothes that are based off Stefani’s racist idea of having a cutesy, Japanese prop entourage.
I just wish Stefani put as much energy into her current music as she does into her racist clothing line. If she did, maybe her music from the past three years wouldn’t have flopped.