Avril Lavigne's Pulled Video isn't Racist, it is Disappointing Though

By Toshi Nakamura on at

Canadian music artist Avril Lavigne released her latest music video for her song, Hello Kitty, which was allegedly pulled down from YouTube shortly after its initial release, and the whole affair has some people up in arms claiming it's racist. It's really not.

The music video for "Hello Kitty" has Lavigne singing and dancing on site in Japan with a backup cast of Japanese women dancing and waving with her. Some people online have been calling the video racist, to which Lavigne herself responded:

To be clear, nothing portrayed in the video is really false about Japan, from the bright pastel interior colours and clothing, to the sushi chef mechanically preparing Lavigne's meal. These are all aspects of life in Japan. Yes, there are sweet shops like the one in the video – I wouldn't be surprised if it was shot on location. Yes, there are people who dress like Lavigne's backup dancers. Yes, there are sushi restaurants that look like that and that have sushi chefs who prepare your meal right in front of you (although probably without the backup dancers standing there).

If anything, the video feels like surface-layer self-indulgence of the more stereotypical Japanese image as perceived by a foreigner. Not racist – just shallow. It's like when someone discovers anime for the first time and becomes convinced that everything Japan and Japanese is superior. We all know someone who was/is like that, and to anyone who isn't in that phase or has grown out of it, such antics are quickly tiresome.

I have no doubt that Avril Lavigne sincerely loves Japan, but the way in which the Hello Kitty music video seems to parade that fact around becomes more irritating than fun.