My God, is she actually Japanese?
Fourteen years after her now-controversial Harajuku Lovers fragrance collection debut, Gwen Stefani stunned everyone with a bizarre new claim of being an Asian.
Gwen Renée Stefani, popularly known as Gwen Stefani, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and fashion designer. She is also the co-founder, and the lead vocal artist of the rock band, No Doubt.
Her famous songs include Just a Girl, Don’t Speak, Rick Girl, It’s My Life, The Sweet Escape, Luxurious, Hey Baby, and Spiderwebs.
Stefani was born to an Italian American father and an Irish American mother in 1969.
Recently, the 53-year-old singer sat down in an interview with Allure magazine and insisted that she was Japanese.
During the interview, Stefani was asked about her previous beauty and cosmetic endeavors, mainly her 2008 venture, when she launched her fragrance line Harajuku Lovers.
“The fragrance line launched in 2008, four years after the release of her solo album Love.Angel.Music.Baby., which took inspiration from Japan’s Harajuku subculture for its visuals and marketing (and subsequently Stefani’s own personal style).”
“The fragrance collection included five scents and each was housed in a bottle shaped like a doll caricatured to look like Stefani and her four “Harajuku Girls,” the Japanese and Japanese American backup dancers she employed and named Love, Angel, Music, and Baby for the promotion of her album.”
Speaking to Allure’s writer, Jesa Marie Calaor, the performer described her experience of creating the beauty brand and the praise and backlash she faced after it.
“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.
The mom-of-three then explained how her Italian American father would return from work trips to Japan and tell her ‘stories of street performers cosplaying as Elvis and stylish women with colorful hair.’
“I said, ‘My God, I’m Japanese, and I didn’t know it.’” said Stefani.
“I am, you know.”
Adding that there is ‘innocence’ to her relationship with the Japanese culture, she continued, “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. I think it was a beautiful time of creativity… a time of the ping-pong match between Harajuku culture and American culture.”
“It should be okay to be inspired by other cultures because if we’re not allowed then that’s dividing people, right?”
Writer Jesa Marie expressed her discomfort with the strange comment made by the Luxurious singer and wrote,
“Like Stefani, I am not Japanese. But I am an Asian woman living in America, which comes with sobering realities during a time of heightened Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate.”
She pointed out her own struggles with racism while residing in the US and said it is strange how some people can claim their link to their community but does absolutely nothing to end the toxic hate culture.
“I envy anyone who can claim to be part of this vibrant, creative community but avoid the part of the narrative that can be painful or scary.”
After her interview with Allure, Stefani is facing negative comments and criticism from my people on the internet who fail to understand her actual relationship with Japan.
“Why does Gwen Stefani get to be Japanese when actual Asians aren’t allowed to be American? It’s not only her statement that is absurd, it’s the hypocrisy that allows rich white people to make outrageous claims with little backlash while POC struggles to exist,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“Actual Japanese people aren’t bothered by Gwen Stefani!” First off all, good job ignoring Japanese people in the diaspora who have been making their stance very clear bc you don’t consider them to be Real Japanese™ and also…” another said.
“imagine you’re gwen stefani’s pr team and you’ve done the years of work to bury her fetishism and cultural appropriation from the public’s consciousness and in 2023 she brings it back to the forefront, DOUBLES DOWN, and goes around calling herself japanese. I would just quit lmao,” a third added.
“gwen stefani telling an asian american interviewer that she identifies as japanese is the kind of oblivion i’m trying to channel in this dark cruel world,” senior business reporter, Tanya Chen wrote on her Twitter.
What are your views on Stefani’s latest interview and bizarre claim? Let us know in the comment section.