John Mayer has caused his share of controversy over the years. He has a long history of dating some of Hollywood’s most beautiful women. He has admitted that he’s made mistakes – some in his personal life, and others in his professional life. John is, however, defending the video for his new song “Still Feel Like Your Man,” which is said to be about Katy Perry. Although the video hasn’t been released, it’s already raising eyebrows.
In an interview with the New York Times, the video shows a woman wearing a geisha outfit, two people wearing panda costumes, and a large bamboo forest. The concept for the video has received backlash on social media for falling under cultural appropriation, which is when white artists use elements of other cultures without acknowledging the historical meanings that it has within that culture.
“I think we are as sensitive as we could possibly be,” Mayer argued. “It was discussed at every juncture. Part of cultural appropriation is blindness… I’m on the right side of the line because it’s an idea for the video that has a very multiethnic casting, and nobody who is white or non-Asian is playing an Asian person.”
“Do I think that someone is going to tweet that this is cultural appropriation? Yes… It’s going to be interesting to see.”
For the video itself, Mayer said he wanted to give the track the best chance to succeed on its own by giving it a great music video. Now everyone’s talking about it – but for all the wrong reasons. Mayer said the guitar riff in the song reminded him of “ancient Japanese R&B,” which he realizes “isn’t a thing.”
He still wanted to move forward with the concept, even though it sure sounds controversial. He didn’t want to make another music video that showed him in bed with a gorgeous model, although it wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Instead, he wanted to have a video with a made-up bamboo forest, a woman dressed up as a geisha, and two people dressed up in panda costumes. Mayer refers to the video as “disco dojo.”
“I’m not gonna ever roll around in bedsheets again,” Mayer said.
He relied on the eye and mind of Mister Whitmore. Both he and Mayer “thought long and hard about how to approach” the “fantasy element” of the music video without offending people.
Still, Mayer still understands if some see it along the lines of cultural appropriation.
“I hope there’s an understanding that we were sensitive to it,” he said. “Do I think that someone is going to tweet that this is cultural appropriation? Yes. It’s going to be interesting to see.”
In the interview, Mayer has admitted that he’s messed up yet again. He brought up his infamous Rolling Stone interview and Playboy interview. Those are the reasons why he left pop music behind to become the frontman of the Grateful Dead’s off-shoot band, Dead & Company.
“What has to happen for a guy to believe he’s totally well-adjusted and be that far out of touch?” he quipped. “My GPS was shattered, just shattered.”
Then, Mayer thought about George Clooney and had a realization.
“There’s a guy who can make art house films and then just decide that he’s going to be in a blockbuster,” Mayer said. “I remember thinking to myself, O.K., I’m going to basically come out of retirement from blockbusters. It’s a choice to write pop songs, just like it’s a choice to write blues songs or folk songs. Let’s write the big ones that we are capable of writing.”
So, Mayer ended up writing an album that’s mostly about his relationship with Perry. He admitted that his new song is about her.
“Who else would I be thinking about?” he said. “And by the way, it’s a testament to the fact that I have not dated a lot of people in the last five, six years. That was my only relationship. So it’s like, give me this, people.”
Still, Mayer doesn’t want to make any more mistakes. He still has recurring nightmares of his offensive interviews.
“I have nightmares about a second occurrence [of the Playboy era],” he admitted.
[Featured image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images]