By Taylyn Washington-Harmon
As a huge No Doubt and Gwen Stefani fan, I thought Stefani might have finally moved on from her days of cultural appropriation and mockery. Her use of a posse of Japanese girls — aka her Harajuku Girls — as props back in the day was more than “rather insensitive.” In her band’s latest music video for its single “Looking Hot,” Stefani plays dress-up in super sexy Native American garb and prances around like a warrior princess. After realizing the racial stereotypes perpetuated in the video, the group decided to pull it from the web.
To those who might have already seen the video, you might ask, “What’s wrong? It’s just a costume.” The thing is, it really isn’t. Native American tribes are living, thriving cultures and for people of other ethnicities to dress up in traditional tribal clothing and play out a fantasy is racially insensitive. My main beef with the band’s theme for “Looking Hot” is Stefani’s hyper-sexualization of Native American women. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Native American women suffer or have suffered from sexual assault, and 86 percent of the assaults are committed by non-Native American men. Ladies, you might want to think twice about your racy Pocahontas costume next Halloween.
No Doubt really threw down with “Looking Hot,” but I was truly disappointed by the lack of appropriate creativity with the music video. Thankfully, the band issued an official apology on their website: “Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately.”