Gwen Stefani has faced a slew of cultural appropriation allegations in her career, some dating back to the early 2000s. Her usage of Harajuku Girls backup dancers and Japanese streetwear throughout the years has contributed to some of these assertions.
The singer has often denied the allegations, and she did so again during a recent interview with Paper Magazine when the subject was brought up.
“I had this idea that I would have a posse of girls — because I never got to hang with girls — and they would be Japanese, Harajuku girls because those are the girls that I love. Those are my homies,” Stefani explained. “That’s where I would be if I had my dream come true, I could go live there, and I could go hang out in Harajuku.” She added, “If we didn’t buy and sell and trade our cultures in, we wouldn’t have so much beauty, you know? We learn from each other; we share from each other; we grow from each other. And all these rules are just dividing us more and more.”
By comparing today’s circumstances to those of the past, Stefani indirectly criticized cancel culture.
“I think that we grew up in a time where we didn’t have so many rules,” she said. “We didn’t have to follow a narrative that was being edited for us through social media; we just had so much more freedom.”