Pop star Katy Perry first burst onto the music scene in 2008 with her sexually charged “I Kissed a Girl” and she’s been topping the charts ever since. Perry originally started out her music career as a Christian artist. The pastor’s daughter went by Katy Hudson back then.
At the Human Rights Campaign Gala in Los Angeles on Sunday night, Perry said she never felt comfortable with her sexuality as a Christian teen and experimented with her sexuality.
“…I was curious and even then I knew sexuality wasn’t as black and white as this dress.”
She went on to say she spent a lot of time “praying the gay away at my Jesus camps.”
In her acceptance speech for the National Equality Award (NEA) the activist singer said she dropped her religious tradition when she made the jump to mainstream music.
“How was I going to reconcile that with a gospel singing girl raised in youth groups that were pro-conversion camps?”
“I found my gift and my gift introduced me to people outside my bubble and my bubble started to burst. These people were nothing like I had been taught to fear. They were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people I have ever met.”
Perry was raised Pentecostal and her parents seem to have stuck to the traditional evangelical model of scripture and biblical authority. We all know how popular that is these days. As I’ve often said, these days you’re nobody until somebody hates you…or at least until you can make up somebody who hates you.
Katy Perry has clearly been on a confusing journey of self-discovery for quite a while. Perhaps her parents did fail to convey the loving nature of God as well as they did His wrathful side. Both are very real aspects of the creator of the universe and work in tandem but when one is valued above the other the gospel tends to get flipped on its head.
Perry started out singing about how God loved her, but it was when she came to believe that He hated her and people like her that she really found her secular niche. Her speech at the NEA ceremony sounded like all the things a wounded girl looking for value in public adoration would say to an audience sure to adore every word.
Ironically, even as she claims to have finally burst out of her bubble to experience new ways of thinking she seems to have jumped right back into another bubble – one that promotes fear and intolerance of those who don’t live in that same bubble. It’s the bubble that most celebrities tend to live in these days. It is insulated by money, body guards and a monolithic ideology that never has to be challenged within their sphere of influence.
Perry’s “bubble-speak” unfairly paints all Christians with the same brush, but I understand where she’s coming from. God is a tough opponent to wrestle with. Jacob wrestled with Him all night and was badly injured in the struggle. Still, he was blessed for his insistence. I hope Perry has not stopped wrestling with the God she has so clearly misconstrued. I hope she demands answers and does not let go until she gets them.
One thing is for sure, she won’t find them in the vapid, self-congratulatory ceremony of the American entertainment industry.