Katy Perry and her brand-management company have officially removed her controversial ‘face’ shoes from her collection after the singer came under fire for their resemblance to blackface.
Previously retailing for $129 per pair at Dillard’s and Walmart, as well as on the Katy Perry Collections website, the ‘Rue Face Slip On Loafers’ and ‘Ora Face Block Heel Sandal’ featured two eyes, a gold nose, and red lips. The slides came in black or beige while the sandals were available in either black or gold.
Following fierce social media backlash over the design, Katy, 34, and Global Brands Group released a statement to DailyMail.com explaining that the two shoe styles were part of a larger collection and were never intended to ‘inflict any pain.’
Courting controversy: Katy Perry has officially removed her controversial shoes from her collection after coming under fire for their resemblance to blackface
Problematic: The ‘Rue Face Slip On Loafers’ came in black or beige and featured two eyes, a gold nose, and red lips
Double trouble: The ‘Ora Face Block Heel Sandal’ came in either black or gold and featured an identical design
‘The Rue and The Ora were part of a collection that was released last summer in 9 different colorways (black, blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red, silver) and envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism,’ the statement said.
‘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.’
The shoes have also been removed from Dillard’s And Walmart’s websites.
On Monday, TMZ was the first to report the shoes were about to be removed from retailers as Katy faced scrutiny for the shoes, which bear a likeness to blackface makeup.
Sources told the site the two shoe styles are part of an entire line that she had designed and released and ‘were never intended to be offensive.’
‘In order to be respectful and sensitive the team is in the process of pulling the shoes,’ the sources added.
Stores: Both shoe styles retailed for $129 per pair on Katy Perry Collections, and at Dillard’s (pictured) and Walmart before they were pulled
For real? Singer Masika Kalysha called Katy out for the offensive shoe design on her Instagram Stories Sunday
Singer Masika Kalysha called Katy out for the offensive design on Sunday ahead of the Grammys, sharing a photo of a pair of the black ‘Rue Face Slip On Loafers’ on her Instagram Stories.
‘So we just gonna let Katy Perry slide?’ she asked.
Others took to Twitter to slam the pop star, with many pointing out that Katy’s shoe design is representative of the fashion world’s problematic relationship with blackface and cultural appropriation.
‘@katyperry are you actually serious right now?! blackface on a SHOE?? what is WRONG with you,’ one person tweeted.
Someone else commented: ‘@katyperry so this what we doing now?!?! Blackface shoes to go with @gucci blackface sweater?!?!’
‘Now Katy Perry got blackface shoes,’ another Twitter user wrote. ‘All these different designs out here I have no other choice than to believe they doing this stuff on purpose.’
Backlash: Other critics took to Twitter to slam the pop star, who said in a statement that she was ‘saddened’ the designs were being compared to blackface
Ongoing issue: Many pointed out that Katy’s shoe design is representative of the fashion world’s problematic relationship with blackface and cultural appropriation
Fed up: One Twitter user sarcastically suggested the shoes are to go with the ‘blackface’ sweater Gucci recently apologized for selling
Outrage: Kieren Boyce stressed that ‘ignorance is never a fashion statement’ while sharing images of other offensive designs
The ‘Roar’ singer received similar backlash when she shared a photo of the shoes on her Instagram in August 2018, writing: ‘Face it – it’s always a good time to put your best foot forward.’
‘Why do you have black face [?]’ one person commented, while another added: ‘Y’all better get some black people looking over these designs pre-production.’
Over the years, Katy has also been called out for cultural appropriation on numerous occasions, most notably a 2013 AMAs performance in which she dressed as a geisha.
That same year, she was heavily criticized for wearing cornrows in her hair in her ‘This is How We Do’ video.
Katy apologized for her history of cultural appropriation in a 2017 interview with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, saying she may ‘never understand’ the struggles of other cultures, but she will continue to ‘educate’ herself.
Outrage: Katy received similar backlash when she shared a photo of the shoes on her Instagram in August 2018
Past behavior: Katy has also been called out for cultural appropriation after she dressed as a geisha for a performance (left) and wore cornrows in a music video (right)
Apology: ‘Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from Katy Perry Collections,’ Katy and her brand-management company said in a statement
The singer and her brand-management company pulled the two offending shoe styles less than a week after Gucci apologized for selling a sweater that many social media users said resembled blackface because of its design.
The $890 black balaclava knit top from the label’s Fall/Winter 2018 season features a cut-out at the mouth that is outlined in red.
The controversial top has been discontinued after it sparked outrage on Twitter, with many claiming that it was a form of blackface.
Searches on Gucci’s website revealed that the item is no longer listed, but archive searches indicate that the clothing item was last on the brand’s site in January.
Many speculated that the items were released for Black History Month, but all of the pieces had been showcased months prior in 2018.
A Twitter user named Rashida shared a screengrab of another mask-like item that Gucci showed off on the runway last year, writing: ‘They have a mask to match so you can have a chic classic black face moment without the mess of paint.’
Poor choice: Last week, Gucci was heavily criticized for its $890 balaclava knit top from the Fall/Winter 2018 season, which features a cut-out at the mouth that is outlined in red
Seriously? People slammed the brand for the sweater for the ‘blackface’ design
Apology: Gucci took to Twitter to apologize for the sweater, insisting diversity was fundamental for the brand
The sentiment was shared by @stegotaurus, who added: ‘THIIIIIIIS is blackface guys. THIS. huge overdramatic red lips and a literal BLACK face. This is DISGUSTING. I don’t wanna see any of you with Gucci belts and slides after this.’
Gucci took to Twitter to apologize for the sweater, insisting that diversity was fundamental for the brand.
‘Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,’ the label tweeted last Wednesday, just hours after DailyMail.com asked the brand for comment.
‘We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.’
The controversy came just a week after images emerged showing a man in blackface and another man in Ku Klux Klan robes on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page.
The Democrat politician apologized for the photo but then later claimed neither man is him. However, he did admit to having ‘darkened’ his face with shoe polish while dressing up as Michael Jackson around the same time.