Gwen Stefani Doesn’t Regret Using Harajuku Girls: “Was All Out Of Love”
Gwen Stefani reveals that she does not regret hiring the Harajuku Girls, despite the criticism she received for her cultural appropriation of the four Japanese backup dancers she employed during her solo debut in 2004. Ten years after the release of her album Love. Angel. Music. Baby., the singer still maintains that it was “all meant out of love.”
“There’s always going to be two sides to everything,” Stefani tells Time in an interview published on Monday. “For me, everything that I did with the Harajuku Girls was just a pure compliment and being a fan. You can’t be a fan of somebody else? Or another culture? Of course you can. Of course you can celebrate other cultures. That’s what Japanese culture and American culture have done.”
Stefani continues, “It’s like I say in the song [‘Harajuku Girls’]: it’s a ping-pong match. We do something American, they take it and they flip it and make it so Japanese and so cool. And we take it back and go, ‘Whoa, that’s so cool! That’s so beautiful.’ It’s a beautiful thing in the world, how our cultures come together.” She adds, “I don’t feel like I did anything but share that love. You can look at it from a negative point of view if you want to, but get off my cloud. Because, seriously, that was all meant out of love.”
The singer goes on to say that the group, named after a district in Tokyo, forged close bonds while working together. “It was just a magical thing to get to know them,” she says. “They were dancers that were cast, but they became real. One girl was a Japanese girl that grew up in L.A., and she got to hang around with three different Japanese girls that were from different places in Japan and had different backgrounds.” She notes, “They became best friends, and she got to go to Japan and see her heritage and see how we are all the same. And I got to hang out with girls for the first time.” What do you think of Stefani’s comments?