Yes, she’s been a longtime advocate for a number of issues, including gun control, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and more, but her fervent 2016 support of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton kicked her political activism into the next gear.
With the 2020 presidential election fast approaching, we at Billboard have been thinking that the “Roar” singer wouldn’t be a bad commander in chief. So in honor of a theoretical Katy 2020 campaign, see below for 11 times Perry was pretty much already a political candidate.
1. Democratic National Convention performance
Back in July 2016, on the final day of the Democratic National Convention, Perry took the stage to perform her empowering songs “Rise” and “Roar.”
Perry begged viewers to register to vote, saying that she has “no formal education” but “I do have an open mind and I have a voice.”
“On Nov. 8, you’ll be just as powerful as any NRA lobbyist. You’ll have as much say as any billionaire,” she said. “Or you can just cancel out your weird cousin’s vote if you’d like.”
2. Hillary Clinton support
There was no celebrity more onboard with “Hillary 2016” than Katy Perry. Not only did Perry perform at the candidate’s sold-out “I’m With Her” fundraiser concert at Radio City Music Hall and consistently tweet her support, Perry even channeled Clinton for her 2016 Halloween costume.
Perry also gifted Clinton a gold nameplate necklace for her birthday with “POTUS” written in metallic, and later got a shout-out in Clinton’s book, What Happened. “For the music at our rallies, we chose a lot of empowering women artists — Sara Bareilles, Andra Day, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, and Rachel Platten — as well as songs from Marc Anthony, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, and John Legend and the Roots,” she wrote. “We loved to see our crowds singing along to the music. To this day, I can’t hear ‘Fight Song,’ ‘Roar,’ or ‘Rise Up’ without getting emotional.”
3. “Katy Perry Votes Naked”
A few months before the election, Perry teamed up with Funny or Die for a hilarious video urging viewers to vote. “This year, you can look like sh– when you vote,” she told viewers. “Yup, I briefly scanned the Constitution, and nowhere does it say you can’t just roll out of bed and come to the polls in whatever state you woke up in.”
Perry takes it a step too far, showing up to the polls totally naked (the way she wakes up) — which was immediately shut down by the cops, who handcuffed her and escorted her away from the voting booth.
4. UNICEF Snowflake Ball award
After the election, Perry was presented with the Humanitarian Award at the 2016 UNICEF Snowflake Ball. Unsurprisingly, Clinton presented Perry with the prestigious award, and gave an emotional speech detailing Perry’s passionate personality. “I have seen Katy’s commitment to the causes that she believes in firsthand,” she said. “I’ve gotten to spend time with her. I know how deeply she cares about making our world a better place. She is serious about understanding the complex problems we face, and pulling people together to solve them. We need champions like Katy now more than ever. Her passion, her energy, and, yes, her voice — louder than a lion!”
Perry later took to Instagram to thank her “hero” Clinton, writing, “Hillary helped me see that we’re all in this together, no matter where we come from, what color we are, or what status and education we have or don’t have. Hillary lit a fire inside of me that burns brighter and brighter every day, and that fire will NEVER be put out.”
Slowly, I am coming down from the beautiful cloud that was Tuesday night’s @UNICEF Snowflake Ball. First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful to have received the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award from my hero @HillaryClinton. This award will be a constant reminder to get out of my bubble and back into the field to shine a light on issues that matter most, especially to illuminate the plight of vulnerable children who are living without basic human needs and rights. This honor is a starting line, not a finish line, for me, and I am excited for where my new ambition and purpose leads me! I was profoundly moved and thoroughly surprised when Hillary showed up to give me this award. I broke down and wept watching her take the stage. The last time I was in NYC was for Election Night. I left covered in a blanket of sadness and despair because for me, and I imagine others, the results triggered a lot of dormant fears and emotions to the surface. I feared that we were not ever going to see the light of justice or fairness. I felt vulnerable, confused and frightened like a child. From the outside it probably looks as though I’ve always had a “voice.” Truth is, I have never had one like I have found in the past year. I have a found a new voice, a more determined voice. I grew up sheltered, suppressed and kept silent for fear of giving the wrong answer. I would reveal my poor education. Or I was just scared. Hillary helped me see that we’re all in this together, no matter where we come from, what color we are, or what status and education we have or don’t have. Hillary lit a fire inside of me that burns brighter and brighter every day, and that fire will NEVER be put out. Feelings of despair still comes in waves, but now more than ever I am MOTIVATED to fight against social injustice and to promote equality and kindness as best I know how, through my art and influence. I am continually inspired by her strength and how she continues to rise like the Phoenix she is, every time. It’s funny, sometimes people who disagree with me just say, “Shut up and sing.” Boy, will I do so in a whole new way… next year. Hell hath no fury like a woman REBORN.
5. Tweeting support for a number of causes
Perry’s most powerful voice comes on Twitter, where she is constantly campaigning for important causes and changes to her 108 million followers. Among the countless topics she’s covered are voter registration, ending gun violence, female equality in the music industry and beyond, including health care, LGBTQ rights and more.
CALIFORNIANS! What’s important to you? Is it gun violence? Immigration? Women’s rights? Prison reform? The #CAPrimary is tomorrow 6/5. It’s your chance to make your voice heard! Get informed & go Vote, whatever u believe, just exercise your right! ——– https://t.co/uXBq9kLdPL pic.twitter.com/VMFOjHO0O1
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) June 5, 2018
On the one-month anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, students are walking out in protest of Congress’ failure to act on gun violence. Let’s support them, and the March to Washington DC in ten days—- #MarchForOurLives
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) March 14, 2018
———— Another powerful woman, leading by example. We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I’m proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance. ?–
P.s VH1 Divas Live. https://t.co/RDmB7zRfId
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) January 30, 2018
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) May 4, 2017
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) February 23, 2017
6. Donation to Planned Parenthood
In November 2016, a few days after Donald Trump’s election, Perry donated $10,000 to Planned Parenthood and encouraged her fans to support the organization after fearing that government funding will be taken from them.
“Planned Parenthood educated me on my body and my reproductive health, so that I could focus on my dreams and using my voice until I knew the timing was right for me to make a plan to have a family,” she wrote on Instagram. “Since then, I have been able to focus wholeheartedly on bringing messages of strength and becoming a voice for others. Without this education, I may have had a different life path.”
It’s time to turn words into action??There are so many steps to take, but my first vow is to support organizations that may have their funding support taken from them in the future by the government. I am making a public donation to Planned Parenthood for the teenage me who made several visits to first a clinic in Santa Barbara and then Los Angeles, CA to educate myself on my sexual health, a subject I had little to no information on because of my sheltered upbringing. I had no idea how things worked down there, and had no idea how to make a plan for them. Planned Parenthood educated me on my body and my reproductive health, so that I could focus on my dreams and using my voice until I knew the timing was right for me to make a plan to have a family. Since then, I have been able to focus wholeheartedly on bringing messages of strength and becoming a voice for others. Without this education, I may have had a different life path. That is just my experience, but I know Planned Parenthood’s broader range of services can sometimes be the only medical support low-income families ever see. I know what it’s like to need help. I came from a lower- to middle-class family and never grew up with the option of health insurance. I remember having 13 cavities as a teenager, and the best option my parents could come up with was to try and take me to Mexico because we couldn’t afford anything in California. I am grateful for and stand in support of Planned Parenthood for giving Katheryn Hudson the knowledge to plan, and for continuing to be a haven for women to learn all options for their future. Now, more than ever, we all need to protect and create safe places for each other. I hope I can help inspire you to make a gift as well, and become a member and an ally. Go to: https://www.plannedparenthood.org to show your support. #wewontgoback
7. amFAR Award of Courage
Perry accepted the Award of Courage at the 2018 amFAR Gala in Los Angeles, for her efforts in the global fight against AIDS and HIV.
“Today I understand that a courageous life is the only one worth living,” she said in her powerful speech.
8. Women’s March
The day after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, an estimated 500,000 people participated in the Women’s March on Washington to declare support for women’s rights.
Perry was there, showing support for her fellow women. In an Instagram post, Perry reflected on the event and denounced her 2012 belief that she is not a feminist. “I march today because I am not afraid anymore and I hope I can be an example of fearlessness and resilience. I will not let anyone suppress me, silence me or clip my wings.
“For a long time I misunderstood the true definition of being a feminist, but now that I know, I am empowered! I am indisputably a feminist,” she continued.
Marching with SO many sisters today but my heart is most proud to march with my blood sister, Angela, who has always been my guardian angel. We should all be guardians for each other. I march today because I am not afraid anymore and I hope I can be an example of fearlessness and resilience. I will not let anyone suppress me, silence me or clip my wings. For a long time I misunderstood the true definition of being a feminist, but now that I know, I am empowered! I am indisputably a feminist. I am here today to break the cycle of suppression and inequality. I stand with you all! ?#whyimarch @womensmarch
9. Campaign to raise money after California wildfires
Over the past few years, California has been devastated by a number of wildfires, including one in Perry’s hometown of Santa Barbara. In response, Perry organized the “Witness: Coming Home – A Benefit for the Community: Our Neighbors, Our Heroes” concert, which donated all ticket proceeds to benefit victims Thomas Fires and subsequent flooding in the area.
A few months later, when more fires blazed through different areas of the Golden State, Trump tweeted that “gross mismanagement of the forests” by authorities was the reason for several deadly fires. “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” he threatened.
Perry quickly refuted, calling the tweet a “heartless response.”
This is an absolutely heartless response. There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters. https://t.co/DJ4PN26bLZ
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) November 10, 2018
10. Sharing a meal with Michael Bloomberg
As the 2020 election approaches, Perry has yet to endorse a particular candidate. However, in January, she dined with Democratic hopeful and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. According to People, she chatted with Bloomberg about her candidate and policy beliefs.
11. Teamed up with the royal family for a good cause
In February 2020, Perry took her philanthropic political efforts international. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, announced her as an ambassador of the British Asian Trust’s Children’s Protection Fund for India.
“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 in a press statement of the honor. “That is why I am especially honored 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.”
Tonight, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a reception for supporters of @thebritishasiantrust at Banqueting House in London. The British Asian Trust is a charity founded by The Prince in 2007 after he witnessed widespread poverty and hardship faced by families in South Asia. Their Royal Highnesses met supporters of The British Asian Trust, including @katyperry and @natasha.poonawalla. During the reception, it was announced that @katyperry will be a new Ambassador for the Trust’s Children’s Protection Fund for India. Since its launch, The British Asian Trust has had a positive impact on the lives of 4.8 million people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. By working with local partners, the charity equips disadvantaged people, not just with skills and resources, but also with the confidence and sense of value they need to transform their lives, improve their communities and reach their full potential. — PA