How Katy Perry’s Blackface Shoe Controversy Could Permanently Damage Her Career

Katy Perry’s shoe line has recently come under fire. Critics suggest one of Perry’s shoe designs resembles blackface, and the singer has been called out by several media outlets for the design. While she remains “saddened” over the controversy, equally disappointed fans can’t help but wonder — what will this do to the singer’s career?

Judge Katy Perry of the television show American Idol
Katy Perry has come under fire for her shoe line. | Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images

Some of Perry’s shoe designs show a face with red lips, a beige nose and blue eyes

Perry launched her shoe line back in 2017. But only a little more than a year into the brand’s life, Perry is already facing a major controversy — and it’s not one to take lightly. Two styles of shoes in Perry’s line feature faces on them; the Ora Face Block Heel and the Rue Face Slip-On Loafers. The shoes come in beige and black; however, the faces on the shoes don’t change. Both faces feature blue eyes, a gold nose, and red lips. But on the black shoe, consumers say it looks more like racist imagery than a chic design — and it didn’t take long for people to notice.

Perry isn’t the only brand to be called out over blackface resemblance

Perry’s shoes are being criticized heavily for the resemblance to blackface, but they aren’t the only brand to make poor design choices that appear to be racist imagery. Gucci released an $890 sweater that also resembled blackface; the sweater was black and pulled up over half of the consumer’s face, sending an extremely negative message. The sweater was pulled after criticism from consumers. Prada recently came under fire as well for selling figurines that consumers believe promoted racism; there was extreme criticism that the figurines offensively depicted black people.  

Perry has said she is ‘saddened’ by the blackface controversy

Perry apologized for the shoe design, and all of the shoes were immediately removed from stores and the website. “I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface,” Perry said in a recent statement, according to the BBC. “Our intention was never to inflict any pain.” Whether Perry intended to hurt anyone or not, not everyone is buying her apology. Several people have taken to Twitter to voice that situations such as this one should never happen to begin with. “‘Reaching’ or not, information is to readily accessible for this to occur,” one Twitter user wrote.

Racism allegations are incredibly serious, and the effects on her career could be long lasting

Designs that resemble racism in any way, intentional or not, should not be taken lightly — especially today. While Perry may have apologized for the shoe design, the damage is done, and once that respect is lost, it’s difficult to gain back. Perry issued a public apology, which is always good, but the effects of a racism scandal don’t go away overnight. Perry will need to gain back the trust and respect of her fans, and she’ll likely have to go beyond simply issuing an apology to make that happen. It could be a long time before people see past the disappointing occurrence.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!