BLACK VOICES
06/12/2014 09:52 am ET | Updated Jun 12, 2014

Katy Perry's Costumes are Racist To Some, Harmless To Others

Scott Barbour via Getty Images

Macklemore isn't the only musician to come under fire for controversial clothing on stage.

Katy Perry recently got heat for her dancers' mummy costumes -- wrapped bodies with padded butts, cartoonish full lips, and oversized earrings. In what Jezebel describes as "an attempt to commodify stereotyped black female sexuality," there is room for criticism to go along with the first set of questions that were raised after the release of her music video "Dark Horse."

We asked Black Voices readers to tell us if they were offended by the mummy getups, and we got mixed reviews. While some said the figures were reminiscent of Sara Baartman, also known as "Hottentot Venus" and the fetishizing of black, female bodies, others made comparisons to the Wayans brothers' movie "White Chicks" calling the incident harmless entertainment.

Some saw no problem, or no problem worth stirring major controversy over:

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katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

Others saw Perry's creative choice as a disrespectful objectification of the female black body:

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

A portion of the BV family thought that the costumes failed to designate any particular race:

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

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katy perry controversy

But to the Egyptian argument some BV readers had this to say:

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katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

Furthermore there was a hesitance to criticize Katy Perry as a white woman for doing something original from and promoted within the black community:

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katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

The Jezebel article mentions the argument that the wrapping is a social comment on plastic surgery. In which case, her critique could still be racialized according to the BV readers who see Perry's dancers' bodysuits as a sort of tribute to and proof of envy for the black female body:

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

katy perry controversy

Macklemore had to apologize for his appearance -- even though he claimed to have made it unknowingly and without malicious intent. Does Katy Perry owe the same to her public?

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