Katy Perry opened the American Music Awards on Sunday night dressed as a geisha while belting out her latest single "Unconditionally."
Although the stage aesthetics and colorful attire were quite beautiful, Perry is being called racist for sexualizing a traditional Japanese female figure, who is paid to serve as a hostess and excels in the art of entertainment, reports The Huffington Post.
The opening act included cherry blossoms, a Shinto shrine and taiko drummers. Perry appeared on stage draped in a kimono along with several dozen dancers wearing the cultural garb. Shortly after her performance ended, though, the critics began sounding off.
Cosmopolitan.com led their coverage by asking "Was Katy Perry's AMAs performance racist?" but Vulture.com's writer Jesse David Fox wasn't so diplomatic in his approach. He compared her showing to other "racially tut-tutted" performances.
Unconditionally? Time will tell if Katy Perry's fans stick by her.
"Selena Gomez's Hindu-referencing Billboard Awards performance and, of course, Miley Cyrus's VMAs performance," he wrote.
Still, like Cosmo, Fox ultimately left it up to the readers to decide.
"Was Perry's Great Wave of Japanese signifiers offensive, simply stereotypical or harmlessly deferential in an inert Katy Perry maximalist way?" he added along with a YouTube clip of the performance.
Prior to touching down on stage, Perry took to Twitter to hint at her performance by showing a picture of her floral designed microphone.
Katy Perry belts out her latest single, ‘Unconditionally,’ onstage at the 2013 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
A clue to the theme of my AMA performance this evening! I will be OPENING the show & taking you on a trip!!! pic.twitter.com/axoV5COKZV
— Katy Perry (@katyperry) November 24, 2013
"A clue to the theme of my AMA performance this evening!" she wrote. "I will be OPENING the show & take you on a trip!!!"
"Trip to where?" @NickDelGaga asked.
Shortly after fans and critics were aware of that Perry intended to take viewers on a journey to the Far East and the backlash quickly began.
Katy Perry tries to channel a geisha, but critics say she was wrong to sexualize the female figure who is just an entertainer in Japanese society.
"Why are you dressed like a geisha Katy Perry?" @CHEL_seeyaa tweeted, according to the Huff Post. "Why? For What? #thisisracist like horribly obviously racist."
"I guess Katy Perry really didn't want to be left out of the mind-numbingly ignorant and racist pop-star hall of shame," @what-freshhell tweeted.
But not all the feedback was negative, according to Fox News.
"These claims of Katy Perry's AMA performance being racist are absolutely ridiculous," @iamdanbrooks wrote. "Appreciation and appropriation of other cultures is ok."
@look_itsLaura chimed in adding, "It honestly bothers me that people believe @katyperry performance was a racist act. She loves the Japanese culture and japan loves her."
Regardless of popular opinion, Perry reportedly intended to push the brink of artistry and musicality with her opening act at the awards show.
"I appreciate all the other awards shows for they are," she said in a previous interview. "Some are just kind of shock-jock shows. Some are just like, 'Hey, let's see how many celebrities we can get together.' Some are actually legitimate like the Grammys, and the AMAs is a very legitimate show with musicality to it."