Prince Charles named Katy Perry ambassador of his British Asian Trust philanthropic project, drawing backlash from those who pointed out Perry’s lack of ties to the community and history of cultural appropriation.
Perry’s new role was announced by the heir apparent on Tuesday night at the charity’s annual Royal Dinner, with the singer posting a tweet announcing it on Wednesday. The 35-year-old singer will be working under the trust’s Children’s Protection Fund and its efforts to combat child trafficking in South Asia.
Prince Charles founded the British Asian Trust in 2007 in an effort to tackle poverty in South Asia.
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Perry, who served as an UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2013, said Wednesday that she was excited to work with the British Trust Fund and that she has a “magnetic connection” with India.
Some of the singer’s fans quickly congratulated her on the announcement, but other Twitter users expressed confusion at the choice to name a non-Asian from the U.S. to the role.
“I can’t believe the fact that katy perry, a white american, has been chosen to be the british asian trust ambassador???? I just- what?,” one user wrote.
People named several celebrities who may have been better fits for the role, such as Zayn Malik, Dev Patel or Jameela Jamil.
Another wrote that while they meant no offense, “could we not find a british asian to fill this role? there’s plenty of us.”
Others referred back to instances where Perry has drawn criticism for culturally appropriating minorities in her past performances and appearances.
A notable instance that resurfaced Wednesday was a 2013 American Music Awards geisha-inspired performance. Perry, who donned a kimono to sing her song “Unconditionally,” was called culturally insensitive for perpetuating harmful stereotypes of Asian women.
Perry apologized for the incident, as well as several other times she was criticized for cultural appropriation, in 2017 during a livestream promote her album, “Witness.”
“I’ve made several mistakes,” Perry said in the stream, according to Billboard. “I won’t ever understand some of those things because of who I am. I will never understand, but I can educate myself and that’s what I’m trying to do along the way.”