Since releasing her video for “Man Down,” Rihanna has been at the center of a firestorm. Conservative groups are up in arms because of the visuals plot featuring rape and murder. Rihanna gets raped in the Anthony Mandler directed video and winds up killing her attacker. What’s crazy about all of this is most of these conservatives-whether they realize or not-are defending rapists. Nevertheless, Rihanna isn’t the first pop star to cause controversy with her music video. The Urban Daily is counting down the ten most controversial music videos by women.
10. Ashanti – The Way That I Love You
For her comeback single, Ashanti made fellas think twice about cheating. In the clip, she realizes she’s not the only one and has
visions of killing her beau. Many believed art was imitating life because rumors swirled about her real life boyfriend, Nelly, constantly
stepping out on her. If those allegations are true, he got the hint and appeared in her next video as the loving and trust worthy partner.
9. Christina Aguilera ft. Redman – Dirrty
Christina Aguilera debuted as the pop princess with a huge voice and wholesome image. Not happy with being the good girl, Christina threw on some as**less chaps and a bikini shocked the world with this video. The public’s main gripe was the message she was sending to young girls. They felt Aguilera was entirely too talented to reduce herself to booty popping and salacious lyrics. Christina responded by saying, “This is me. No glass and no pretense.” Whatever you say, Christina.
8. Britney Spears – Baby One More Time
By 1998, pop music was at a standstill. Nothing interesting was happening until a fifteen year old Britney debuted her music video
with her dressed as a Catholic school girl dressing and dancing provocatively. Many parents condemned the record company for selling
sex with such a blatant disregard for the messages being sent to their young audience. The only issue was the young Spears came up with the concept herself, knowing it would get her the attention needed to become a world class pop star. She was right. So what does that say about us, the people who ate it up?
7. Ciara – Ride
The clip from Ciara’s first single from her latest disc stirred up the drama for many reasons. First, the racy lyrics already caused some
women to shy away from the song. However, men were drawn in by the overtly sexual depictions of Ciara. Riding a mechanical bull in a wet t-shirt and hot pants and wearing a itty bitty swimsuit and a fur coat had the guys drooling. My mom saw the video and responded, “All she’s missing is a pole!” BET deemed the video so explicit, it was banned from the network and became an internet sensation.
6. Fiona Apple – Criminal
In 1997, Fiona Apple slithered onto our radar with her hit, “Criminal.” The then barely legal singer’s video featured the
aftermath of a wild party. Apple is seen in various states of undress. The heroin chic look thought up by director, Mark Romanek, was criticized relentlessly. The heat became so much for Fiona, she denounced her own video in an acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs the following year. Criminal, indeed.
5. Lady Gaga and Beyonce – Telephone
Illuminati conspiracy theories aside, “Telephone” was one of the most talked about videos in recent history because some didn’t understand it. Others thought it was too sexy for television. The rest of us just enjoyed watching Beyonce. Showcasing lesbian acts, murder, and nudity, Lady Gaga and Beyonce do their take on Thelma & Louise. While many were distraught over the themes, there was a poignant moment. The conversation about trust is absolutely true.
4. Madonna – Justify My Love
If controversy was a man, Madonna would be its wife. Never has anyone conjured more scrutiny for images in music videos than The Material Girl. For this 1992 clip, Madonna bucked at conservatives with images of homosexuality, bondage, and voyuerism. Once MTV banned the video for its sexual nature, Madonna capitalized on the media storm by releasing it on VHS in conjunction with her book aptly titled, SEX. Lenny Kravitz, who wrote the song, is still making money off that.
Madonna – Justify my Love from OfDreamAndDrama on Vimeo.
3. Erykah Badu – Window Seat
Erykah Badu has always been the artist to push boundaries in the R&B genre. Her videos are thought provoking pieces of art. This is
especially true for “Window Seat.” A video depicting Badu strolling the same path in downtown Dallas as JFK rode the day he was killed, while stripping her clothes off. The reactions in the clip are real. Erykah was fined for her body baring stunt. In case you didn’t know, the concept is Erykah is taking off the layers of learned behavior until she is free enough to think critically on her own. When she is finally able to do so, she’s killed because society doesn’t want us to think differently than the majority. That backside wasn’t bad to look at either.
Erykah Badu “Window Seat” from triggerhappy on Vimeo.
2. Madonna – Like A Prayer
Burning crosses, making love to saints, and a Black man playing said saint. Oh my! The Pepsi generation wasn’t ready for Madonna’s ideas. She lost her Pepsi endorsement after the video aired. Back in the 1980s, it was still very taboo for interracial couples to be shown on television. Blacks were never portrayed as biblical icons in that time. As forward thinking as this video is, I’m throwing some shade
for the burning crosses. Every time I see a burning cross, I think the KKK is about to do me like Emmett Till. What were you trying to say to the Black community, Madge? Inquiring minds still want to know.
1. M.I.A. – Born Free
M.I.A. has been pushing buttons with her artistry since bursting on the scene in the early 2000s. In the clip for “Born Free,” she holds a mirror up to America to show them how stupid we look as we randomly attack people for being Muslims. Only in her video, soldiers were attacking all redheads. Soldiers were seen kicking in random apartment doors just to see if the residents were redheads. If they weren’t they just left. If they were, they would be put in in prison and tortured. It’s a no brainer why American music fans hated this video. Who wants to be shown how much of a jackass they’ve been?
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