12 Times Your Favorite Celebs Were Guilty of Appropriating Asian Culture

asian culture

Earlier in 2018, a white female student wore a Cheongsam dress to her high school prom and consequently sparked a massive debate on cultural appropriation. But of course, that wasn’t the first time this topic has taken over the internet. Like broken records, we’re talking about this every year around Halloween and festival season and among the worst offenders happens to be some of the most popular celebrities.

Here are 12 times celebrities were caught appropriating Asian culture:

1. Kourtney Kardashian


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Kourtney Kardashian wasn’t the first Kardashian to appropriate Asian cultures and it’s safe to say she probably won’t be the last. She left her Instagram followers confused after appropriating Chinese culture… in JAPAN.

2. Katy Perry – 2013 American Music Awards

Katy Perry’s geisha-inspired performance at the AMAs included bowing and shuffling in the choreography as if the kimono and umbrellas weren’t bad enough. The singer made a formal apology in 2017, four years after the performance.

3. Iggy Azalea – “Bounce”


Apparently the backlash for the blaccent and racist lyrics weren’t enough because Iggy Azalea made the decision to appropriate yet another culture. In her music video for “Bounce” she can be seen dancing in a sari with actual Asian women in the background.

4. Rihanna – “Princess of China”

With a song title like “Princess of China,” this one isn’t too surprising. In her collaboration with Coldplay, Rhianna can be seen wearing a geisha-style garment and doing the dance of a thousands hands. And the most confusing part? “China” is never mentioned in the lyrics, not even once.

5. Avril Lavigne – “Hello Kitty”

After the release of her music video “Hello Kitty,” Avril Lavigne was criticized for objectifying Japanese culture. The singer responded on Twitter saying,“RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!! I love Japanese culture and I spend half of my time in Japan.”

6. Vanessa Hudgens


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Oh hay 😉🤗🌹

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Vanessa Hudgens, often referred to as the “Queen of Cultural Appropriation,” has attended several music festivals wearing bindis, box braids, face paint and even dreamcatchers. In this instance she can be seen wearing a Cheongsam-style dress, so add that to the list.

7. Beyoncé – “Hymn For The Weekend”

Yes, even the queen herself has been accused of cultural appropriation. In this collaboration with Coldplay, Bey can be seen wearing Indian clothes and jewelry.

8. Selena Gomez – 2013 MTV awards

Selena Gomez was criticized after wearing a sparkling red dress and bindi while performing Bollywood-inspired dance moves at the MTV Awards. Several Hindu leaders have even demanded an apology from the singer but Gomez went on to perform this same routine on several other shows.

9. Emma Roberts – 2015 Met Gala


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#Metball @ralphlauren it’s almost time!

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Emma Roberts was accused of cultural appropriation back in 2015 after she placed chopsticks in her hair to go with her embroidered purse. To be fair, the theme for that year’s Met Gala was “China: Through the Looking Glass” so this was bound to happen.

10. Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani has appropriated almost every culture out there. From “Harajuku Girls” to “Rich Girl,” along with her choice in fashion, she’s been guilty of using Asian and Black women as props and wearing several culturally insensitive garments.

11. Nicki Minaj – “Chun-Li”


In her music video and live performance for “Chun-Li,” Nicki Minaj can be seen wearing chopsticks in her hair and mixing several Asian cultures such as Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese.

12. Kim Kardashian


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Happy Holidays

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I told you Kourtney wasn’t the first Kardashian to appropriate Asian culture. Kim Kardashian has been frequently criticized for appropriating Black culture, but last Christmas, she drew criticism once again by wearing a Qipao dress. Disappointed but not surprised.

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