The Grace Space: How to View Lily Allen’s New Music Video For What It Is

For the past few months, the music industry has gone a little bit off the deep-end: Robin Thicke released a song that correlated rather horrifyingly with “good girls” asking to be raped; Miley Cyrus used African-American culture to prove that she is no longer a Disney starlet, and; critics seemingly have a double-standard about the entire notion.

For a music lover like myself, it’s a bit worrisome that songs, actions and ideas such as these are continually making themselves present in a short amount of time. How people think it’s relevant or funny to joke about these issues is beyond me, but only shows how great the need for a discussion is within our society.

This past Tuesday, Nov. 12, British recording artist Lily Allen released her most recent single “Hard Out Here” with a correlating video. The video begins with Allen on a medical examiner’s table as she’s having liposuction. Her supposed agent, an old white male in an ill-fitting suit, stands above her during the exam, asking how it’s possible for someone to let themselves go like this. Allen replies that she has recently had two children (we must also remember this occurred after a miscarriage and a stillbirth in 2008 and 2011).

While on the table, Allen looks behind her to a screen that shows a music video featuring a bunch of African-American women in skimpy leotards and overdone makeup with a gold background immediately behind them, as if they are on a pedestal for the singer. From there, we begin the song, where the singer discusses both the injustice of female celebrities’ weight and women overall being called “sluts” for sleeping with numerous partners.

Just like the rest of Allen’s songs, “Hard Out Here” is meant to prove a point and I think the song and its video do so pretty well. Allen is not a woman, musician or individual in general to be trifled with, and she makes great points to the double standard we have for musicians and individuals in general regarding normalcies such as sex and body image. She has African-American dancers in the video to both portray Cyrus’s use of them as props and to show her relation to them as women and entertainers. Allen has balloons spelling out “Lily Allen Has a Baggy Pussy” in similar fashion to Robin Thicke’s commentary on his own genitalia in the video for
“Blurred Lines.” She also uses twerking, dropping bills and a fancy car to showcase the audacity of most rappers’ videos. Overall, the video’s message, much like one of her final lyrics, is that inequality is here to stay if we continue to believe these depictions are accurate representations for our society.

There was a general positive response when the video was first released, but, as per usual, there was a slew of backlash from individuals who state that the video/song is a further objectification rather than a satire to prove the point of these heinous actions. One post in particular, titled “Easy Out There For A (White) Bitch,” really pissed me off more than anything else I had read. The writer, Mia McKenzie, says that she could not initially make it through the entire video because of her utter disgust of Allen’s use of black women as props. She then goes onto state that she doesn’t seem to understand who the “bitch” is that Allen is referring to, but brings that back to the race issue at the basis of her retort.

Honestly, I don’t believe that the music video is the best it could be, but it sure does prove Allen’s points. The video is satirical and uses these aspects that McKenzie does not approve of to prove just how ridiculous the music industry/society has become. If you’re a fan of Allen like I am, you would know that something like this is typical of singer—there’s a strong message, showcased in a way that some may not approve of, but that does start a conversation.

If you haven’t already seen the video/listened to the song/read the lyrics, you are probably having a b****-fit right now. I suggest doing just that (not specifically in that order, but all regardless) and then see if you can agree with Allen’s points in a song that could be around for the next few months.