Does Lily Allen’s New Video Exploit Black Women?

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Yesterday, I learned that Lily Allen was back on the music scene. And according to Jezebel, it was clear that she had to something to say in her new single “Hard Out Here.” The song is all about how women often feel pressure to objectify themselves in one way or another to be successful in this male-dominated world. And throughout the video, we see Lily fighting back against the machine in some ways and contemplating the decision to shake her booty or bounce her tits. Ultimately, she states that it’s not easy out here for women. Some of the lyrics read as follows:

Don’t need to shake my A$$ for you cuz I’ve got a brain…

 

If I told you ’bout my sex life, you call me a Slore

When boys be talkin’ bout their bitches no one’s making a fuss

 

You should probably have somebody who objectives you

Have you thought about your butt, who’s going to tear it in two?

 

Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits 

It’s hard out here for a b!tch

Clearly, there are some parts that are satirical and some parts make statements that explain that satire. And in the video, there are images of black women doing the very things the industry uses to make money. Women twerking, dancing, popping their booties to the beat. And since booty is most commonly found in women of African descent, these are the women who are most prominently featured in the video. Take a look below.

//www.youtube.com/v/E0CazRHB0so?hl=en_US&version=3

While some were praising the video for its pro-feminist statement and critique of pop culture, others took issue with the ways in which black women were portrayed in the video. They found it exploitative. Even though there were white women in the video and Lily did some of the dance moves herself, black women’s bodies were the ones that were on display.

I agree that there was gratuitous booty. But I also understand the use of it in the point she was trying to make. After all, how many videos contain similar images which are not meant to critique culture but sell sex? I will say she did highlight what is a very real issue in the music industry.

The question is, in an attempt to make a statement did Allen perpetuate the very same behavior she was trying to condemn? One tumblr user wrote:

The video is meant to be a critique and satire of popular culture and manages some deserved jabs at Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” videos among others, but in the end it just reduces itself down to elevating Lily Allen’s white female body and objectifying and utterly denigrating those of the black female dancers she deliberately surrounds herself with from start to finish.

But Lily Allen took to Twitter to explain the process of how the women were cast in the video and why the images appear the way they do.

You can read Lily’s response to the controversy on the next page.

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