Avril Lavigne begins the music video for her song, “Hello Kitty,” by shouting a Japanese word into the camera. It’s an awkward start, and it only goes downhill from there.
The next three minutes are full of the Canadian singer traipsing around a candy store and a sushi restaurant, all the while followed by four lifeless Japanese girls — or rather, caricatures of Japanese girls — who really contribute nothing to the video. The rest is full of Avril doing her best Ke$ha impersonation.
Within hours, cries of racism and cultural insensitivity were being shouted from every corner of the Internet.
Watch this for yourself. The one I linked to may very well be removed, and if it is, just find another one.
Believe it or not, I have now sat and watched this video two times.
It’s easy to watch it and say that it’s terrible, but really, what music video isn’t terrible these days?
I will say that the song is pretty atrocious, and I that I expect better from Avril. I’ve been a staunch defender of hers over the years — evidenced here and here — and I will forever insist that she has plenty of talent. She just doesn’t seem to care about actually showcasing it.
She has a great singing voice, but doesn’t often cater to it … like Hello Kitty. She also writes the majority of her songs, even if the lyrics are pretty dense … like Hello Kitty. But what I like most about her is that she long ago picked a gimmick, and stuck with it. Even with age, she hasn’t changed.
So love her or hate her — she is who she is.
There’s really no point crying racism, because this entire music video is one giant stereotype. It paints Japanese culture as one giant rainbow colored children’s cartoon. Which, let’s face it, is how most Americans view Japan.
The video is just another extension of Avril not giving a single hoot about what people think about her. They don’t call her the Punk Pop Princess for nothing. Or does any one even call her that?
At the end of the day, as I already said, the song is just bad. And that to me is the real story. Looking at Avril’s Wikipedia page, it appears her husband Chad Kroeger, of Nickelback fame (or notoriety), has a writing credit on the song.
There’s your explanation.