Katy Perry on the Controversial Geisha AMAs Performance, Boyfriend John Mayer in GQ Interview

January 21, 2014

Katy Perry opens up about the controversy over her Geisha style performance of ‘Unconditionally’ at the AMAs, her boyfriend John Mayer, and even extraterrestrials and more in GQ magazine. On the cover photo and inside photos she is styled as a sexy pinup girl, with cleavage in full view even as she confronts her critics.

The 29-year-old pop music superstar cause quite a firestorm when she took to the stage at the American Music Awards – the AMAs — dressed up in a kimono costume which was, as numerous commentators pointed out, a hodgepodge of Japanese and Chinese elements, as she donned the traditional white makeup of the Geisha. Her backup performers and the stage set itself also revealed a similar disconcerting mix of iconic elements from the two cultures.

Up until now, Katy Perry has been silent in the midst of the criticism and the allegations of racism, and questions as to what has been perceived by some as an insensitive appropriation of another culture. The makeup has been a point of contention as well with some drawing parallels to whites who don blackface.

Parts of the interview were conducted before the performance and hence before the controversy. At that time, Katy Perry said she had chosen the geisha theme in part because she considers Japan “the capital of adorableness.”

That characterization will likely raise a few eyebrows as it has more than a whiff of condescension. Distilling a culture which stretches back thousands of years into “adorableness” is perhaps more revealing that she may have intended.

Pre-performance she had even more to say: “I was thinking about unconditional love, and I was thinking: Geishas are basically, like, the masters of loving unconditionally.”

Again, it’s a revealing response. Perhaps Katy Perry sees the Geisha through the lens of such heavily romanticized and inaccurate characterizations as Puccini’s ‘Madame Butterfly?’

Later, after the performance and in the midst of the criticism Katy Perry has received, she defended herself by saying, “All I was trying to do is just give a very beautiful performance about a place that I have so much love for and find so much beauty in, and that was exactly where I was coming from, with no other thought besides it.”

Again, quite revealing. It was a performance lacking in historical and cultural complexity and therein lies the offense.

As for John Mayer, whom she had talked about many times in print interviews and more recently in television interviews on GMA and ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ she address the on-and-off nature of the relationship saying, “I think that I needed to grow up.”

As is typical with any celebrity couple there have, of course, been the usual engagement and secret wedding rumors along with the breakup rumors. But Katy Perry gave no indication of future plans but added, “I’m just having a wonderful experience with a wonderful guy. There’s no rush.”

While she did not discuss her divorce with Russell Brand this time around — goodness knows she must be more than ready to move on from such discussion — she brought up another topic, her breasts.

For anyone who was wondering why Katy Perry has such large natural breasts (yes, we know you are out there!) wonder no more. She said of them, “I lay on my back one night and looked down at my feet, and I prayed to God. I said, ‘God, will you please let me have boobs so big that I can’t see my feet when I’m lying down?’ She went on to say that by the time she was 11 “God answered my prayers,” and added” “I had no clue they would fall into my armpits eventually.”

After her foray into the spiritual, she went on share some intriguing thoughts on aliens and in managed to bring President Barack Obama in the conversation in that context.

She said: I see everything through a spiritual lens. I believe in a lot of astrology. I believe in aliens…. I look up into the stars and I imagine: How self-important are we to think that we are the only life-form? I mean, if my relationship with Obama gets any better, I’m going to ask him that question.”

See the full interview and the alluring 1950s style photo spread here. Behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot is below!

Pictures: PR Photos

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