Katy Perry’s Most Controversial Lyrics and Performances
In 2018, Katy Perry is as woke as they come, at least in the context of public-facing pop stars. Her lead Witness single "Chained to the Rhythm" was a statement on the world of fake news and truth-manipulation in an uncertain political climate, and Perry has since relentlessly advocated for women, the LGBTQ community and marginalized Americans far and wide.
But we'd be lying if we said Perry, herself, hasn't occasionally been the problem.
Exactly 10 years ago, the hit-making pop star released "I Kissed a Girl," which amounted to a huge commercial success that spent multiple weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Still, the victory came coupled with social backlash, as many critics saw the song, which includes the lyrics "I kissed a girl and I liked it / The taste of her cherry chap stick / I kissed a girl just to try it / I hope my boyfriend don't mind it," as a cheap grab for attention and a cheapening of the struggles of many gay men and women.
And since then, Perry's come under fire for cultural appropriation (who could forget that 2013 American Music Awards performance?), additional pejoration of the gay community (2008's "Ur So Gay" is cringeworthy in hindsight) and the perpetuation of toxic masculinity. In other words: Katy has been, on occasion, a problematic fave.
Still, she's come a long way, and publicly recognized the flaws in "I Kissed a Girl" during a 2018 interview with Glamour, noting: “If I had to write that song again, I probably would make an edit on it...Lyrically, it has a couple of stereotypes in it. Your mind changes so much in 10 years, and you grow so much. What’s true for you can evolve.”
Cheers to your evolution, Katy. In the meantime, here are Katy Perry's most controversial lyrics and performances.