Gwen Stefani did a recent interview with Allure, where she was asked point blank about her controversial past when it comes to cultural appropriation. Most notably, her Harajuku Lovers fragrance line that directly tied to her 2004 album, Love.Angel.Music.Baby. — and pulled from Japanese culture.
Stefani (who was born and raised in California) noted in the interview that her father (who was Italian) worked for Yamaha, so he had to travel between America and Japan. Eventually, the pop star traveled to Harajuku herself. However, the story takes a wild turn when she repeatedly insists that she is Japanese.
“I said, ‘My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it,’” Stefani said. “I am, you know.”
“If [people are] going to criticize me for being a fan of something beautiful and sharing that, then I just think that doesn’t feel right,” she added. “I think it was a beautiful time of creativity… a time of the ping-pong match between Harajuku culture and American culture.”
Stefani also described herself as “a little bit of an Orange County girl, a little bit of a Japanese girl, a little bit of an English girl.” But, she’s also Italian — at least from her dad…
“The music, the way the girls wore their makeup, the clothes they wore, that was my identity,” she said. “Even though I’m an Italian American — Irish or whatever mutt that I am — that’s who I became because those were my people, right?”
Following the interview, the piece notes that Stefani’s representative contacted the author the following day, claiming she had misunderstood Stefani’s words. Still, when the team was asked for an on-the-record comment of clarification, they declined.