Instagram | @gwenstefani

Gwen Stefani Defends 'Harajuku Girls' After Claims Of Cultural Appropriation

Before she was a judge on The Voice and dating country singer Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani was a lil... edgier, let's say.

After leaving the band "No Doubt" in an effort to forge her solo career, Gwen was known for her cutting edge fashion lewks and also, her admiration for Japanese cultute.

More specifically, her love of Harajuku.

Her album "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." came out in 2004. That era for Gwen heavily featured what Gwen called her Harajuku Lovers.

Getty Images | Jon Furniss

Her entourage created a fashion revolution by giving fans the L.A.M.B. clothing line, popular fragrance collections and more, all influenced by Harajuku girl culture.

Now, 15 years later, Gwen is defending her Harajuku phase, saying it wasn't cultural appropriation.

Getty Images | Fox

Speaking to Billboard about her song "Harajuku Girls," Gwen said: "I wanted to write a song that talked about my love for Harajuku. When you're from Anaheim and never traveled outside of your city until you're 21 years old, it was really crazy to go to Japan... When I got there and saw how fashion-obsessed they were, I thought they were my people, because my style was so unique."

She continued, "I get a little defensive when people [call it culture appropriation], because if we didn't allow each other to share our cultures, what would we be? You take pride in your culture and have traditions, and then you share them for new things to be created."

Getty Images | James Devaney

About Love. Angel. Music. Baby. : "This album was like a dream. I went in thinking I’m going to make something that could never be possible — me doing a dance record — come true. It was almost like a joke, because I thought that could never happen to me. So it was my fantasy. When the Harajuku Girls came out, it was like, you’re not even real, you’re a dream. It wasn’t like, ‘You’re not real because you’re Asian.’ Are you kidding me? That would be horrifying!"

Gwen said the girls were hired as dancers, "So when people asked me about it during radio interviews, I told them this was all a concept and we were having fun. By the way, the girls were cast to be dancers — that’s all."

Instagram | @gwenstefani

What do you think of the controversy? Let us know in the comments below!

Filed Under: