You may have, by now, heard Lily Allen’s cover of Keane’s Somewhere only we know for this year’s heart string tugging advert from John Lewis, but all the way on the other end of the spectrum, Miss Allen has released the already infamous Hard out here. It’s undeniably catchy, definitely outspoken but questionable in its attack against sexism or racism.
The intention of the video is quite clear, starting with Lily’s trip to the operating room with men poking at her, questioning her body as she announces that she’s had a child. The video then explodes into a booty shaking extravaganza complete with Robin Thicke style balloons spelling out, ‘Lily Allen has a baggy pussy’ which she proceeds to dance in front of.
It’s clearly a complete mockery of some of the top videos this year which have provoked controversy, namely Blurred Lines and We can’t stop. Miley did come under flack from a few celebrities, including Hayley Williams from Paramore, about her use of women of colour as ‘accessories’ in her videos. Lily is now coming under the same heat, from a video which was supposed to be about the issue of sexism in the music industry.
I’m not sure what side of the fence I’m coming down on for this one. Both blatant racism and sexism are still issues, and they clearly can come hand in hand, however, Lily has also said in defence
If anyone thinks that after asking the girls to audition, I was going to send any of them away because of the colour of their skin, they’re wrong
Is this a good stance, stipulating that she sees no colour and ultimately isn’t racist, or is ignoring her privilege? She’s highlighted the problem by becoming a part of it, whilst the images were intended to be ironic or mockery, it still means putting the image in front of the public. It needed to be separated slightly further or parodied in a slightly less obvious way. This goes for the lyrics too, whilst some of them are very poignant, others like, ‘If you can’t detect the sarcasm then you’ve misunderstood’ are painfully clear.
She’s never been one to shy away from public statements and it’s definitely one hell of a comeback. It’s going to be interesting to see how she moves forward over the next year.