Great Britain

Katy Perry in 'white saviour' row after being appointed British Asian Trust ambassador

The decision to appoint Katy Perry as an ambassador for the British Asian Trust has been heavily criticised on social media.

On Tuesday, Prince Charles named the "Dark Horse" singer as an ambassador for the charity in a major drive against child-trafficking.

Perry joined the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at a black-tie reception and dinner at Banqueting House in London where she addressed the room about her latest role.

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“India has long held a special place in my heart, and on my last visit, I was able to meet with the Prince of Wales and other leaders in Mumbai, and I was impressed by their strong plan – from on-ground initiatives to fundraising – that will aim to cut child trafficking in half,” Perry said.

“That is why I am especially honoured to be named an ambassador for the British Asian Trust’s Children’s Protection Fund, and to help shine my light on the work that the British Asian Trust will be doing in South Asia, and to be a part of finding solutions to child trafficking.

“Children are vulnerable and innocent and have to be protected.”

However, the decision to make Perry an ambassador has caused outrage on social media, with some people accusing the star of encouraging “white saviour” complex. 

“Just because she got married in India and has a tattoo in sanskrit doesn’t mean Katy Perry is the right person for this role,” one person wrote.

“As if there weren’t any ACTUAL British Asians to be Ambassador of the British Asian Trust. Over this white saviour complex s*** with colonial undertones.“

Another person agreed, adding: “Katy Perry should have said ‘NO’ and suggested a British Asian celebrity (hell even a non-British Asian would have been better).”

Some people condemned the decision as “utter nonsense” while others referenced the star’s recent photo shoot for Vogue India.

“Girl got married in India once and appeared on the cover of India Vogue and apparently that’s enough to make you Asian these days??” one person wrote.

Another commented on the use of children in the images, writing: “I think quite regularly about the expression of the kid who was dressed as ‘Katy‘s fries’ in Katy Perry’s Vogue India shoot”.

Despite the backlash, Manoj Badale, chair of the British Asian Trust, said the charity is “delighted” to welcome Perry as its newest ambassador.

“We are looking forward to working with her on raising awareness of the work we carry out across South Asia,” Badale said.

“Katy is a keen supporter of our work and her appointment marks another successful year for the British Asian Trust.”

The British Asian Trust was founded in 2007 by Prince Charles and a group of British Asian business leaders.

The charity supports the estimated 5.8m children working in forced labour in India with tens of thousands thought to be working in hazardous workshops.

It works with business, government and civil society to remove child labour from supply chains and bring child labour-free products to markets.

The Independent has contacted the British Asian Trust for comment.