Controversial Videos Aren't A New Thing

Written By Sam Murphy on 11/12/2014

controversial videos redfoo

This week it seems the internet has been awash with inappropriate music videos and similarly pretty media surrounding them. Yesterday, X-factor judge, tennis enthusiast and part-time party rocker, Redfoo, released the video for his new single Literally I Can’t. It features a collection of the most awful rapper in the business including gravel-swallowing Lil Jon.

It’s copped flack for the song’s content and accompanying video which has them deliver lines like “Shhh ... I said jump on the pole: I didn’t need your opinion” and “But you an annoying slut, because you’re talking”. The video then has Lil Jon telling girls who refuse to drop down at their request to “shut the fuck up”. Poor Redfoo’s obviously a little confused by the reaction, taking to Twitter to say “the word “slut” never appears in the lyrics of Literally I Can’t”. Well, he’s off the hook in our book then, it’s all a terrible misunderstanding. In fact he thinks, “they [women] are the most powerful people on this planet!”

Everywhere from Murdoch’s press to music blogs have expressed their fury at this latest act from Redfoo, forgetting they are talking about the man who wrote Sexy And I Know It.

The fact of the matter is, Redfoo has struggled to sell a single outside of Australia for over two years and the media has done exactly what he wanted them to do- promote the single. It’s not a new tactic, in fact, it’s an age old art.

Here are a few videos that have been pulled up for being inappropriate in the past:

Nicki Minaj- Only (Feat. Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown)

Two minutes with Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj has gone feral. We’re not sure if this is just a hideous coincidence or a chance to promote another single through shock tactics (remember Anaconda?). The lyric video for Only looks remarkably similar to a piece of Nazi propaganda which has seemingly very little to do with the song’s main message which is “I never fucked Drake, I never fucked Wayne”. There’s something really screwed up about alluding to Nazism in any case, particularly when Chris Brown is dressed in an SS uniform.

Christina Aguilera- Not Myself Tonight

Poor Xtina had been out of the game for a while and when she game back there was a new girl in town: Lady Gaga. Upon releasing her fourth album, Bionic, she was plagued with criticism for ‘copying’ Lady Gaga. So what did she do? Made an S&M themed video that was even inappropriate for red tube.

The Prodigy- Smack My Bitch Up

Drug use, vandalism, nudity and sex (aka. just another day for The Prodigy) are featured in the 1997 video for one of The Prodigy’s most iconic tracks. Unsurprisingly the video drew serious criticism for misogyny and was banned in the US and the UK. funnily enough the video eventually won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Dance Video despite being originally banned on the channel.

Robin Thicke- Blurred Lines

Do we really need to explain?

Madonna- Like A Prayer

Ol’ Madge has always been a big fan of shock tactics and she went all out with the video for Like A Prayer. The religious-themed video see the cross burnt and the murder of a black girl by white supremacists. Perhaps unsurprisingly Madonna was banned from performing in Italy by the pope. Surely someone somewhere has the power to ban Redfoo from performing in Australia or at least confine him to Marquee, right?

Psy- Gentleman

How do you follow-up a one hit wonder? By objectifying women of course. In the video for Gentleman he throws clothes at women, laughs at them falling off treadmills and grinds them with a sense of entitlement. Yep, we see the irony in doing it in a song called Gentleman so we’re not quite sure if it’s the painfully obvious irony or the objectification that’s most offensive to us.

Avril Lavigne- Hello Kitty

In Avril’s defence, we have absolutely no doubt that she had no idea she was being offensive. But surely, there was someone around her, who thought “maybe this isn’t such a good idea”. Why? She uses a bunch of stereotyped Japanese girls who are mute and robotic the whole video while Lavigne prances around like a brat. Avril’s reaction to the racism accusations? “"RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!!” Bless her hello kitty socks. Also Chad Kroeger co-wrote the song which is offensive in itself.

Future & Kanye West- I Won

Not a music video in the traditional sense, but Future designed a video game based off the song I Won where the main goal was to acquire a trophy wife by throwing chains at them. If only he’d run it by Ciara just once, it would’ve never been made.

If you so please, play the game here. 

M.I.A.- Born Free

M.I.A. was definitely clued into the fact that her Born Free video was offensive and the media willingly confirmed it. The video saw gingers persecuted as an ethnic minority and was swiftly pulled from YouTube upon release. At the end of 2010 many people labelled it one of the best videos of the year with naysayers still hung up on the fact that a musician made a politically-motivated video.

Party Posse- Yvan Eht Nioj

It’s still an unproven myth to many but clued in folk would’ve have noticed that the key message of this hit by Bart Simpson’s boyband, Party Posse, is actually ‘join the navy’. Pop is all fun and games until someone is affected by subliminal messaging.