Lily Allen's new single, "Hard Out Here," is inciting the opposite response from what she likely expected. Allen, who is known for blunt lyrics, pokes fun at pop culture and addresses female objectification on the track, but it's the music video that's getting racial backlash.
In the accompanying visual, Allen takes subliminal shots at Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke's MTV VMA's performance and the music industry in general. The singer is surrounded by a group of scantily clad, predominately Black dancers, who gyrate and twerk as she sings, "It's hard out here for a b----," while fully clothed.
She maintains that the casting and wardrobe choices were not meant to be racially offensive, via a tweet titled "Privilege, Superiority and Misconceptions."
"If anyone thinks for a second that I requested specific ethnicities for the video, they're wrong," she wrote. "If anyone thinks that after asking the girls to audition, I was going to send any of them away because of the color of their skin, they're wrong."
Allen goes on to state that if she planned to dance in the video but "failed miserably" at twerking. "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," she explained. "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."
The 28-year-old refused to apologize though, adding, "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 pedophiles, 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."
Not surprisingly, the backlash seems to be serving Allen well. Her "Hard Out Here," music video has been viewed more than two million times since it was posted Monday (Nov. 12).
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(Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)