Wednesday, November 27, 2013

American Music Awards (AMA): Katy Perry's Racial Boo-Boo, Nelly & FGL, Macklemore/Ryan Lewis!

It has been several days since the American Music Awards, but the opening act still gets me thinking.  First off, the AMAs was one of the best awards shows in awhile.  I actually watched every performance and award presentation.  What served as a cue to watch the show was that applauded Ariana Grande for her flawless performance.  I turned on the television in anticipation, and then my stomach dropped...Katy Perry, Ms. California Girl, a person who I said can do no wrong, as she pumped out hit after hit, appeared as a Geisha!   Let me preface this by saying that this is solely my opinion and perspective.  I have made several presentations on multi-cultural diversity and what Katy Perry presented to the world maybe perceived as a racial insult.  Thinking of the history of people painting their faces to look like other ethnic groups, I always hoped that we were past this.  I would at least hope that a famous celebrity would have someone on her team to say, "Hey, I'm pretty sure people may take offense to this!"  Gwen Stefani danced with Harajuku girls, but Katy Perry took it to another level.  Dressing up as a Geisha perpetuates the stereotype that Asians are exotic or in their own right "quirky."  By no means should she present a parallel between her quirky persona and her performance.  Now, there is a distinction between a racial insult and racism.  I obviously don't know Katy Perry to know her perspective on other cultures, but she definitely needs a consultant on multi-cultural diversity issues (I would have definitely told her that would not be well received, and what the implications are of dressing this way).

The rest of the night was fantastic.  What I love about Macklemore is that when he wins awards, he sends a message of social justice.  This time, he quoted MLK, Jr., "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!"  This is ironic considering Katy Perry's performance.  Mark Anthony also provided us with an inspiring quote, You maybe alive but you're not always living (paraphrased).  Performance after performance captivated me...Ariana Grande with her velveteen voice should be crowned the young Mariah Carey.  FGL and Nelly performed their hit "Crusin," but the best part of it all was when Nelly went throwback on us, performing "Ride with Me."  TLC also performed with Lil Mama rapping Left Eye's part. It was an awkward performance, but always good to see them remembering Left Eye. Breakout band, Imagine Dragons rocked it with their two hits! Rihanna was awarded an icon award, and I always forget that she is only 25 y/o.  Her voice is so unique.  Her movements on the microphone looked like she was possessed, but I guess this is the look she was going for.    Lastly, Miley Cyrus performed with an enlarged app on the big screen; every time she sang, the mouth of the animal sang.   Oh what a great night of pop culture.

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