Photography: Pola Esther
Starring: Brianna Michele, Stephanie Shiu, Gia Genevieve, Sara Mohr, Marina Zappia, cameo by Seungri from Big Bang, TK, and James Goldstein
Stylist: Courtenay Brandt
Hair and Makeup: Sheila Mia Seifi
clothing mostly vintage with an exception of Alexander McQueen dresses
director of "Made" concert film Dikayl Rimmasch
creative director of "Made" concert film Ed Burke
FOLLOW AUTRE ON INSTAGRAM: @AUTREMAGAZINE
photography: Jessie Askinazi
model: Kate Adams
location: Beverly Hills / Venice Beach
Cream lace dress: vintage, stylist's own
Rainbow striped blouse: vintage blouse from Squaresville, Los Angeles
Black jumpsuit: Viviana Uchitel
Red outfit: vintage, stylist's own
Navy blue knit dress: KRELwear
White sheet dress: Shaina Mote
Silk Robe: Victoria's Secret
Burnt Orange tunic: vintage from Weltenbuerger
Scrubs Dress in Butterscotch: W// by Weltenbuerger
FOLLOW AUTRE ON INSTAGRAM: @AUTREMAGAZINE
Photography Jessie Askinazi / Model Janelle / Styling Margalette Production
Although they have been around for the past few decades, hyper-sexual music videos hit another level in 2013. For years, rap music carried a huge weight on its shoulders for its depiction of women especially. But these sexed-up images trickled more into the mainstream in 2013 and it was explored halfway through the year in a solid article over at CBC Music.
Pop Goes Porn-ish
The writer argued that huge stars like Kanye West, Robin Thicke, and Rick Ross were essentially waging wars against women in particular with their music and videos. To be fair, all three artists—and others including the Weeknd and Eminem—either sang/rapped about pretty deplorable things or brought them to life in their song's visuals. That was especially true with Thicke, who released an uncensored version of his "Blurred Lines" clip (here's the clean cut) featuring topless models frolicking about. It was already cringe-inducing enough seeing them treated as objects, but that just made it worse. It also sucks that, you know, the song was the definition of an earworm.
Music Video Content Under Fire
But what's most interesting is that the hyper-sexualization of music videos hasn't only been critiqued by politicians, well-meaning organizations, and even some artists themselves (more on that later). According to Adam & Eve, there's a film called Afrodite Superstar that parodies just how ridiculous videos can be by harping on them throughout. As their review of the movie states, the movie is "[f]ull of profound insights, fantastic original hip-hop songs and hilarious video vixen spoofs." Perhaps it's time for video directors and artists to realize just how absurd they're being when they continue perpetuating stereotypes that have been bashed by the friggin' porn industry. Now, this isn't some type of call for prude-like behavior on any level, but a bit more care and, more importantly, originality could go a long way here.
Another Side of The Story
It's also important to note that it wasn't just male artists who were injecting sexuality into the world of music. Three of the biggest culprits were young women, two of whom have been topping the charts for years (Miley Cyrus and Rihanna) while the other (Lily Allen) was trying to stage a comeback to music. With Cyrus, you were basically unable to escape the controversy surrounding her love of twerking, her music videos like "Wrecking Ball" and "We Can't Stop," and that, um, "performance" with the aforementioned Thicke at the MTV Video Music Awards. As for Rihanna, she caught some flak over her "Pour It Up" video in which she reveals almost her entire self to the camera. She's essentially portraying herself as an exotic dancer—maybe even a leader of the crew?—while rapping/singing about throwing back shots and tossing dollar bills at a strip club. And then there's Allen, whose attempt at parody with "Hard Out Here"ruffled some feathers across the board. Some people claimed that her choice of dancers was racially motivated while others thought she was taking shots at Cyrus and Thicke. But the real point of it all was that Allen (like the aforementioned Afrodite Superstar) was simply trying to show how over-the-top music videos have become. Unfortunately all the other nonsense surrounding it seemed to have bury that aspect of it, which is a shame because at least she was trying. She also wasn't shoving her opinions and thoughts down anyone's throats as "Hard Out Here" was presented with a comedic tinge.
So what, then, will the coming months hold for music video content? Will it only get more in-your-face as artists continue to top each other with their visuals? Perhaps, but it could also begin to subside. Like many aspects of our lives, cultural trends are cyclical. That means we could enter a new age that harks back to a touch of class or, at least, a bit more subtlety. But what do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section!
Part 1 of Adarsha Benjamin's road trip across the American South West. See more photographs by Adarsha after the jump.
Issey Miyake Dress/YSL wedges
This editorial comes to us all the way from Hollywood, California and photographer Austin Ellis.
Mila Schon leather fringe ensemble/Lanvin bangle
Chloe jumpsuit/Manolo Blahnik heels
1980's zipper dress/YSL wedges
Vollbrach robe/Lanvin necklace/Pucci sunglasses
Alex Long @ Nous Model Management
Clothing provided by The Way We Wore