avril lavigne hello kitty

Much has been said about Avril Lavigne‘s latest abomination, a bizarre and accessorizing-with-another-culture video called “Hello Kitty.” In fact, it has somewhat dominated the news cycle these past few days–you heard me. Avril Lavigne is dominating the news cycle. What a time to be alive.

Lavigne has responded to the backlash with a few flippant tweets, and they aren’t what I’d call a great response.


Sure, this whole thing was a ploy for attention anyways, so it’s not like Lavigne is spending much time thinking through the larger implications. She was courting controversy–Lavigne is, by my count, only relevant as a punchline these days. In a surprise move, everyone is talking about her, even leveling measured, well-thought out criticism at her. In what was probably a paid endorsement for the Hello Kitty brand and a plan to garner critical attention, Lavigne made the most embarrassing video I’ve seen in years. Well, since her last one. And it worked.

But you’d think–given the obviousness of this plan–that Lavigne would have been prepared for the expected and baited backlash, and she’d have a slightly better answer than “I have Japanese friends.” Saying that the video was made with the help of Japanese people doesn’t make it any less of a video about a white girl stomping through Japanese culture like it’s a video game. If a black man directed a video depicting Avril Lavigne in blackface, would we we all be cool?

The one thing I’ll say here is that I haven’t seen any responses to the video coming out of Japan–all the criticism is coming from Western voices. So I have no idea how this was received there, and if this was created solely for Lavigne’s Japanese fans, it might benefit us to hear from them. This is far from a defense of Lavigne (I find the video reprehensible), but we could all use a reminder not to drown out the voices of the people we’re defending.

Lavigne’s response is pretty piss poor, and laughing at an important critical debate while not actually answering for yourself is weak at best. Then again, I’m not sure what a reasonable expectation would be for Lavigne. Is she supposed to join in on the critical debate in a real way? That’ll be the day.

Photo: Youtube