Lily Allen defends ‘Hard Out Here’ video

'It has nothing to do with race, at all,' says Allen following complaints about the ethnicity of her dancers

Lily Allen has defended her new video for ‘Hard Out Here’ following criticism that it is “racist”.

The video, which was posted online yesterday (November 12) and has already received over one million views, was directed by Christopher Sweeney (who has previously worked with artists including Lana Del Rey and Foals) and shows Allen dancing with a group of black dancers in a spoof of hip-hop music video tropes.

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This part of the video has been picked up on by some critics, who claim that using black dancers to gyrate explicitly around a white singer, albeit ironically, is not acceptable.

Both the video and the song’s lyrics take aim at misogyny and sexism in modern pop culture. Allen also takes a satirical swipe at Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ video, in which a woman dances in front of the words ‘Robin Thicke has a big dick’, by dancing in front of inflatables spelling out ‘Lily Allen has a baggy pussy’.

This afternoon (December 13), Allen has posted an explanation of the meaning behind the video, but said, “I’m not going to apologise because I think that would imply that I’m guilty of something.” The post, which you can read here, also sees Allen say: “The message is clear. Whilst I don’t want to offend anyone. I do strive to provoke thought and conversation. The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture. It has nothing to do with race, at all.”

Director Christopher Sweeney spoke to NME after the release of the video on YouTube yesterday afternoon and discussed his vision for the video and the message behind it.

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Talking at length in a blog you can read here, Sweeney echoes the same sentiments as Allen and says: “The lyrics are really blatant so when I sent a pitch in to do it, I wanted to encapsulate the that idea of music industry sexism and poke fun at it. I didn’t mean it to be a statement as much as a bit of fun. I think the music video clichés we make nods to in the video are part of a culture we’re all complicit in. So, our video’s not attacking those things as much as addressing them and having a bit of fun with them. That culture is something we’re all complicit in – we all sit and watch those videos with twerking and champagne spilling over gyrating naked women and all that on MTV all the time, so to really rally against them would be hypocritical.”

‘Hard Out Here’ precedes the release of a new album from Allen in 2014 and will be available to download from Sunday (November 17). Earlier this year the singer revealed that her new album has some “feminist vibes coming on”.