British singer Lily Allen wrote a blog post on Wednesday responding to accussations that her latest video for the song “Hard Out Here” is racist. The video, which is supposed to be a making fun of Miley Cyrus’ twerking, has been panned for stepping over the line from parody to prejudice by objectifying the bodies of women of color. Mia McKenzie wrote at Black Girl Dangerous:
Here’s yet another video of a white woman performer using the bodies of black women as props. Smacking their asses and cutting away to their parts as though they are just pieces of people rather than, you know,whole people. All while singing about how she doesn’t need to shake her ass because she has a brain. The juxtaposition of that sentiment with images of black women gyrating and twerking is downright insulting. Here’s yet another white feminist throwing black women under the bus because she has some point she’s trying to make about…sexism? I mean, I can hardly tell, probably because my feminism includes black women. Because I don’t see black women, or any other women of color as tools, props, or background noise for white women’s self-expression. But that’s me.
On Wednesday, Allen wrote in a blog post titled “Privilege, Superiority and Misconceptions” wrote that the video “has nothing to do with race at all.”
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.
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.
But, as McKenzie wrote, “Satire works best when you are flipping the script on the oppressor…Not caricaturing and otherwise disrespecting the people who are oppressed by that system.”
(h/t The Guardian)