Gwen Stefani Defends Herself Against The Backlash Of Her Harajuku Era By Claiming She’s Japanese…

January 10, 2023 / Posted by:

For the past few years, Gwen Stefani‘s questionable Harajuku era entered the chat once again when people realized she’s been a culture vulture since her No Doubt days. Her discount Pocahontas x Cher drag wasn’t enough to appease her thirst for other cultures, so she fully committed to Japanese culture surrounding the release of her debut solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby in 2004. Now, responding to all the hate she’s received since then, Gwen went the coo-coo route by stating she loves that time in her life because she, too, is Japanese. Yes, she actually said that shit. And said it to an Asian-American journalist.

During an interview with Allure magazine, Jesa Marie Calaor, a Filipina American woman, asked Gwen about how she felt in regard to her Harajuku era. In case you’re unfamiliar with that anim-MAZING iteration of Gwen’s career, it was when she transformed from a white woman obsessed with ska and Indian culture into a white woman obsessed with pop and Japanese culture. Gwen was so committed to Japanese culture she even employed four young women of Asian descent to be her backup dancers. But if you asked Gwen where her dancers Love, Angel, Music, and Baby are now, she’d probably ask, “Who?” because she ditched them years before becoming the Queen Consort of Country music with Blake Shelton. But Jesa Marie wants answers! Gwen admitted her love for Japanese culture started with her father’s job at Yamaha, and she could’ve kept at, “I was inspired by the culture,” yet she took a huge kamikaze dive into an explosion of nonsense with her explanation.

“That was my Japanese influence and that was a culture that was so rich with tradition, yet so futuristic [with] so much attention to art and detail and discipline and it was fascinating to me,” she said, explaining how her father (who is Italian American) would return with stories of street performers cosplaying as Elvis and stylish women with colorful hair. Then, as an adult, she was able to travel to Harajuku to see them herself. “I said, ‘My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it.'” As those words seemed to hang in the air between us, she continued, “I am, you know.” She then explained that there is “innocence” to her relationship with Japanese culture, referring to herself as a “super fan.”

“If [people are] going to criticize me for being a fan of something beautiful and sharing that, then I just think that doesn’t feel right,” she told me. “I think it was a beautiful time of creativity… a time of the ping-pong match between Harajuku culture and American culture.” She elaborated further: “[It] should be okay to be inspired by other cultures because if we’re not allowed then that’s dividing people, right?”

How do you say “Bitch Please?” in Japanese? Or should I just say it in English so she’ll understand me? Gwen didn’t stop there and added that she’s jumped in and out of different cultures like she’s in a reality TV version of Quantum Leap.

Stefani told me she identifies not just with Japan’s culture, but also with the Hispanic and Latinx communities of Anaheim, California, where she grew up. “The music, the way the girls wore their makeup, the clothes they wore, that was my identity,” she said. “Even though I’m an Italian American — Irish or whatever mutt that I am — that’s who I became because those were my people, right?”

Jesa writes that after the interview, Gwen’s rep contacted her the next day to say that she misunderstood Gwen.

During our interview, Stefani asserted twice that she was Japanese and once that she was “a little bit of an Orange County girl, a little bit of a Japanese girl, a little bit of an English girl.” Surely, she didn’t mean it literally or she didn’t know what she was saying? (A representative for Stefani reached out the next day, indicating that I had misunderstood what Stefani was trying to convey. Allure later asked Stefani’s team for an on-the-record comment or clarification of these remarks and they declined to provide a statement or participate in a follow-up interview.)

I know we talk about cancellation being overused now, but I think it’s time we cancel Gwen’s passport. Or her subscriptions to Crunchyroll and Telemundo. And it is amazing how Gwen managed to find a way to dig herself deeper into a hole, nearly 20 years after the fact. That’s a gift.

Pic: InstarImages

Our commenting rules: Don't be racist or bigoted, or post comments like "Who cares?", or have multiple accounts, or repost a comment that was deleted by a mod, or post NSFW pics/videos/GIFs, or go off topic when not in an Open Post, or post paparazzi/event/red carpet pics from photo agencies due to copyright infringement issues. Also, promoting adblockers, your website, or your forum is not allowed. Breaking a rule may result in your Disqus account getting permanently or temporarily banned. New commenters must go through a period of pre-moderation. And some posts may be pre-moderated so it could take a minute for your comment to appear if it's approved. If you have a question or an issue with comments, email: [email protected]

alt="drupal analytics" >