Before We Embrace Gwen Stefani’s Comeback, She Owes Us An Apology

Originally posted on TIME:

Gwen Stefani dropped her comeback song, “Baby Don’t Lie” today, and according to Pharrell (the unofficial arbiter of hits du jour), the follow-up album is on “another level.” And that’s all well and good, but before we embrace Stefani as a comeback queen, we should pause to remember that she perpetuated some extremely racist stereotypes when she debuted her first solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. 10 years ago.

Remember the Harajuku Girls? No? Here’s a refresher:

After dropping the album, Stefani used four backup dancers known as the “Harajuku girls” in all her performances and as an entourage offstage. They followed her everywhere and were reportedly contractually obligated to only speak Japanese in public. She renamed them — as if they were pets — “Love,” “Angel,” “Music” and “Baby” after her album title. As you can see in the video for the song “Harajuku Girls” above, the women…

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