Katy Perry kicked off her “Witness” tour in Montreal, Canada, and her set list is treating fans to a cover of a pop classic: “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” originally by Janet Jackson. Jackson released the song back in 1986 to major success. It would go on to reach No. 4 on the Billboard charts, and helped cement Jackson’s image as a feisty, independent woman.
Perry performs an arrangement almost identical to Jackson’s original on her tour. She even does the original choreography to the song, as performed by Janet at the Grammy Awards in 1987. When a singer as iconic as Katy Perry performs an iconic song by another iconic artist, it invites conversation. And the internet has exploded with debate regarding the appropriateness of Perry performing the song.
“Katy Perry just gentrified Janet Damita Jo Jackson’s What Have You Done For Me Lately & I’m pissed about it,” Twitter user Corey Townsend tweeted. Other fans simply disapprove of the Katy Perry cover. Some have expressed general disappointment, while others have lashed out at Perry for covering a song by a black artist.
Regardless of your opinion, one thing’s certain: When one pop diva covers another, it taps into energized fan bases with the potential to explode.