Katy Perry’s Barack Obama Comparison Was Not Racist, Social Media [Opinion]

Over the weekend, singer Katy Perry became the bane of social media when she made a joke that many people on social media perceived as “racist.” Well, it’s not. Let’s examine it.

First, know that Katy Perry recently made a big change to her hair-do. Whereas she used to have longer black-brown locks that fell at least to her shoulders, she decided in April to sheer most of the hair off and dye what was left peroxide blonde.

The public reception to the new hairstyle was not positive. As the Inquisitr reported at the time, many fans on Instagram said it made Katy look like Justin Bieber or Eminem, and a lot just called it straight-up ugly.

During her live Instagram feed on Sunday, Perry decided to counter some of the anti-new look comments by reading some of them out and rebutting them during the stream.

“Aww, someone says ‘I miss your old black hair,'” Perry read at one point.

“Ohh,” she continued in an obviously patronizing and sarcastic voice, “do you miss Barack Obama as well? Okay, times change, bye.”

With that retort, Perry had sealed her fate. Within a few hours, Katy’s response had gone viral, supposedly making her out to be a racist. It seems people think she was being totally insensitive about the fact that Donald Trump’s replacement of Barack Obama in the White House has negatively affected a lot of people.

Not only that, but they are convinced Katy Perry was somehow likening her old, darker hair to Obama because African Americans tend to have dark hair.


Although I understand it’s not the most popular opinion, I completely disagree with the idea that Perry’s comment was racist. Unnecessarily mean-spirited, yes, but not racist. Here’s why.

I don’t believe Perry was attempting to allude to race at all. She was simply making the point that times change. If the last president had been anyone else, she would have inserted his name instead of Obama’s.

People noted that time and time again during Barack’s presidency, Perry spoke out in favor of Obama. She orchestrated parts of his campaign and sang at many of his events, and she definitely never showed any signs of racism.

During her performance at the Brits in February, according to BBC, Katy Perry even used her set design to liken Trump to a giant skeleton. That’s really all one needs to know to understand how low her opinion of the man is.

If anything, in fact, Katy Perry is probably hinting at the fact that she misses Obama too in her stream.

“Yeah, Obama’s gone,” Perry conveys, “but life marches on and we can’t all be happy with every change.”

Obama campaign rally
Katy Perry performing before a Barack Obama campaign rally back in 2012. [Image by Julie Jacobson/AP Images]

That being said, she could have said so much more tactfully than she did, as the way she seemed to mock the comment was extremely rude. Keep in mind, though, that Perry is only human and the almost entirely negative feedback over her bold new fashion choice probably hurts her and causes her to lash out.

Perry was also drunk, as evidenced by someone in the car yelling humorously “You’re cut off!” after she had finished her response. Not that drunkenness would justify offensive behavior in any way, but it might help explain why Katy went around delivering her response in such an ill-advised way.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think Katy’s response was meant to say she is fine with Obama being gone from office and that she has no problem with the new President. I do not think she was trying to comment on race, either. The flippant manner in which she delivered the barb certainly did not help her case, and she is definitely guilty of acting a bit insensitive and callous. Especially when you are a role model to lots of people like Katy Perry is, that is a decidedly bad thing. But I also think it is unfair to call what Katy said racist or intentionally offensive to anyone.

What is your opinion? Make yourself heard in the comments section below.

[Featured image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]