Why Critics Should Give Lily Allen a Break

Why Critics Should Give Lily Allen a Break

Laura Kennelly hits back at critics of Lily Allen, who claim her new video for ‘Hard Out Here’ is racist.

Lily Allen has recently been caught up in a media frenzy over the video of her new single, ‘Hard Out Here’. Whilst the video was released as a form of protest against sexism in the music industry, Allen has since been accused of racism.

The video begins with Allen lying on an operating table getting liposuction, whilst a male executive scolds her for ‘letting herself go’ due to having two children. It goes on to show Allen dancing in front of balloons, which spell out: ‘Lily Allen has a baggy p****’. Assumedly, this is in response to Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’, in which Thicke displays a similar scene with balloons spelling out: ‘Robin Thicke has a big d***’. She goes on to sing ‘You should probably lose some weight, because we can’t see your bones … It’s hard out here for a bitch’.

Some viewers, however, have bypassed the nod to feminism, and are focusing on the fact that most of the dancers in the video are black. Suzanne Moore from The Guardian claimed: ‘What I see is the black female body, anonymous and sexualised’. Allen responded with “[It] is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture … The message is clear.”

I for one am confused about the criticism; whilst there is significant focus on the black dancers in the video, I disagree that this automatically makes Allen a racist. The fact that the dancers are twerking and are wearing next to nothing suggests that Allen is being ironic. After all, the entire video is supposed to be mocking the music industry.

Secondly, I believe there is too much focus on the ethnicities of these dancers. Viewers are supposed to be listening to the lyrics and seeing what the video represents, not over-analysing the reasons for Allen hiring black and Asian dancers. Allen goes on to claim that the girls were chosen purely because they were the “best dancers”.

The dancers themselves have even expressed support for the video, posting messages on Twitter; one read: ‘Critics will be critics’. I think if the dancers are happy showing off their bodies in that way, then the critics should leave them to it.

Whatever Allen and her director had chosen to do regarding the video, another controversy would undoubtedly have been identified and called out. I believe that Allen’s video successfully protests against sexism in the music industry due to the emphasis on women having to look and present themselves in a certain way. I think it successfully mocks the ever-increasing sexual nature within music videos in today’s society and I think that the music industry should take note.


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