In her Hard Out Here single from her Sheezus album, released at the end of 2013, Lily Allen sings, “Don’t need to shake my ass for you ’cause I’ve got a brain,” one of the many well crafted, sarcasm soaked lyrics we love.
The song’s video, which brings her very obvious satirical take on the objectification of women in pop culture to life, opens with Lily undergoing lipo, involuntarily, as a sharkskin suit clad agent (a white man) looms above, shaking his head in disgust while uttering, “How does someone let them themselves get like this?” to the mother of two.
After he gets her “fighting fit”, he then manhandles her post-op video shoot by giving an awkward Lily lessons (bad ones) in twerking and seductively eating a banana, while her back-up dancers flawlessly (and intentionally) deliver a high sexualized and denigrating routine… the type that has become all too ubiquitous in hip-hop and pop music videos today.
When the video was criticized by some as having racist undertones, the chart-topping singer shot back with this statement she released, via Twitter.
Privilege, Superiority and Misconceptions
1. If anyone thinks for a second that I requested specific ethnicities for the video, they’re wrong.
2. If anyone thinks that after asking the girls to audition, I was going to send any of them away because of the colour of their skin, they’re wrong.
3. The message is clear. Whilst I don’t want to offend anyone. I do strive to provoke thought and conversation. The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture. It has nothing to do with race, at all.
4. If I could dance like the ladies can, it would have been my arse on your screens; I actually rehearsed for two weeks trying to perfect my twerk, but failed miserably. If I was a little braver, I would have been wearing a bikini too, but I do not and I have chronic cellulite, which nobody wants to see. What I’m trying to say is that me being covered up has nothing to do with me wanting to disassociate myself from the girls, it has more to do with my own insecurities and I just wanted to feel as comfortable as possible on the shoot day.
5. I’m not going to apologise because I think that would imply that I’m guilty of something, but I promise you this, in no way do I feel superior to anyone, except paedophiles, rapists murderers etc., and I would not only be surprised but deeply saddened if I thought anyone came away from that video feeling taken advantage of, or compromised in any way.
As Ms. Allen’s Hard Out There lyrics say, “And if you can’t detect the sarcasm, you’ve misunderstood.”