Katy Perry issues apology after backlash over accusations of 'blackface' shoes

Katy Perry issues apology after backlash over accusations of 'blackface' shoes

Katy Perry has issued a formal apology after being lambasted on the internet over shoes in her new fashion line.

Earlier this week, the singer pulled a particular style of shoe from her fashion range, after critics accused the design of promoting blackface.

Perry's 'Rue Face Slip-On Loafers' and 'Ora Face Block Heel Sandal' (which cost the hefty price of $129 per pair at Dillard's and Walmart) were discontinued from certain stores as a result, but soon word of the shoes had spread and fuelled further outrage and condemnation.

Despite the fact that the footwear came in a variety of colours, many people pointed out that the black leather shoes combined with the facial features somewhat resembled the black face paint and racial caricatures used in minstrel shows. On social media, the reaction to the shoes has been mostly negative, with many users ridiculing their appearance.

One Twitter user wrote: "Regarding Katy Perry’s shoes; if you have to second guess whether a design is blackface/racist...it probably is. 'Reaching' or not, information is too readily accessible for this to occur."

Someone else added: "So Katy Perry has a blackface shoe and Gucci has a blackface turtleneck. I'm trying to figure out why they're both acting clueless as to how this happened."

Now, Perry has come forward to formally apologise for any offence caused by her footwear. In an official statement, Perry said: "The Rue and The Ora were part of a collection that was ... envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism. I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface. Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from Katy Perry Collections."

This isn't the first example of so-called blackface clothing to provoke controversy in the world of fashion. Earlier this month, major designer brand Gucci was forced to make an apology over a polo neck jumper, after receiving an online backlash from critics who perceived it as racist.  The black balaclava sweater, from their 2018 Fall Winter collection, caused an uproar on social media.

In a contrite official statement addressing the issue, they said: "Gucci deeply apologizes for the offence caused by the wool balaclava jumper. We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores. We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.

"We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond."