Photos: Getty; Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.
Post-PRISM, Katy Perry has emerged as one of today's most political figures in pop. Take her performance at the 2017 Grammys, for instance, where she projected the Constitution onto the stage and donned a "Persist" armband (and white suit) in a nod to her icon, Hillary Clinton. Or, her performance at the Democratic National Convention, where she supported Clinton—whom she later honored with a pair of shoes Katy designed. But what you might not be aware of, however, is that it took years for Katy to arrive at that place. In the May issue of Vogue, Katy opens up about her political journey, revealing surprising information.
For one, the pop artist's strict upbringing—her parents were evangelical Christian pastors—prevented her from interacting with the LGBT community until later in life. "Education was not the first priority," she tells Vogue. "My education started in my 20s, and there is so much to learn still." She was not "allowed to interact with gay people," she tells the magazine. "There is some generational racism," says Katy of her upbringing. "But I came out of the womb asking questions, curious from day one, and I am really grateful for that: My curiosity has led me here. Anything I don’t understand, I will just ask questions about."
It's that urge Katy wants others to have, more than pressing her own political views onto them. "I don’t think you have to shout it from the rooftops," she says, "but I think you have to stand for something. ...If you have a voice you have a responsibility to use it now, more than ever."
What inspires her is that she sees so many young people doing just that, which was a silver lining for her amid Clinton's loss to President Donald Trump. "I was really disheartened for a while; it just brought up a lot of trauma for me," she says of the aftermath of the 2016 election. "Misogyny and sexism were in my childhood: I have an issue with suppressive males and not being seen as equal. I felt like a little kid again being faced with a scary, controlling guy. I wouldn’t really stand for it in my work life, because I have had so much of that in my personal life. But it’s an awakening that was necessary because I think we were in a false utopia...we can’t ever get that stagnant again. I am so grateful that young people know the names of senators. I think teenage girls are going to save the world! That age group just seems to be holding people accountable. They have a really strong voice—and a loud one." In other words, they roar.
This story originally appeared on Teen Vogue.
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