Sky Ferreira’s new “I Blame Myself” video, where ’90s gangsta-rap imagery gives way to choreographed dancing, has already turned out to be polarizing, and now the singer herself has addressed detractors who say the clip is racist.
While director Grant Singer’s decision to set the punk-tinged pop song’s visuals in Compton, California, is certainly inventive, and Flavorwire has gone so far as to say the clip “speaks to a larger message about power and vulnerabiliy,” others have been harshly criticial of how it juxtaposes Ferreira with African-American dancers. One Facebook commenter wrote, “I’m tired of seeing black people used as props.” Another commented, “These actors BECAUSE of their skin color are automatically reduced to the neighborhood setting you shot this video in.” Ferreira, though, rejects the accusations of racism.
“Not only do I find it insulting towards myself but I also feel insulted for the actors & dancers & my family in the video,” the singer writes in a long Facebook post (see also: Sky Ferreira Calls for Solidarity Against Online Hate). “No, I did not use black back up dancers as ‘props.’ I never have and never will look at any human being as a prop. That’s disgusting. It’s also an idea that has never crossed my mind,which is what I find questionable of the people telling me that I did so.Dancers are objects?!?!?! How dare you! Dancers make things come to life. If they were white would they be considered ‘props’? I auditioned a bunch of dancers,all races & my dancers were the best ones.”
Ferreira’s recent tourmate Miley Cyrus has faced similar accusations, while Lily Allen also drew criticism for the use of only black dancers in her “Hard Out Here” video. Read Ferreira’s full post, in which she explains the influence of ’90s hip-hop and Michael Jackson on the video, below. Whatever you think about the clip, “I Blame Myself” is a devastating showstopper on Ferreira’s 2013 debut album Night Time, My Time, one that paradoxically empowers even as it owns up to the narrator’s past transgressions. The brand-new New York Times style feature subject sings about being “without a voice,” and now she has one, but whether she’s using it as responsibly as possible here is something about which reasonable people will disagree.
Thank you so much for the love & support of the video. It’s something that means a lot to me. I’ve never seen such a big response from my fans before
I’ve been reading some of the responses and I had a few thoughts:
Some people are accusing of being racist. I usually do not need to feel the need to explain myself(which I’m not) but I DO feel the need to share my thoughts on the situation. Nothing upsets me more than being called racist because that is one of the most hateful things anyone can be. Not only do I find it insulting towards myself but I also feel insulted for the actors & dancers & my family in the video. No, I did not use black back up dancers as “props”. I never have and never will look at any human being as a prop. That’s disgusting. It’s also an idea that has never crossed my mind,which is what I find questionable of the people telling me that I did so.Dancers are objects?!?!?! How dare you! Dancers make things come to life. If they were white would they be considered “props”? I auditioned a bunch of dancers,all races & my dancers were the best ones. I know that you have to be socially aware & mindful of others but when I look at this video I don’t see race as a issue.Stop trying to search for something that isn’t there. Comments like “rich little white girl exploiting the black people & the ghetto”…I never exploited anyone & I don’t use people in any shape or form. My brother is half black. My cousins are black. My family is Latina & Native American. Some of my family is in the video.I wasn’t raised in a “white” house hold & I’m not little & I have financially supported myself since I was 15 years old. I’m a woman,not a fucking little girl. Because I have pale skin & green eyes doesn’t mean I was raised in Beverly Hills and have Swedish film investor parents or whatever some have created in their minds. Would you feel more at ease if I danced with a bunch blonde white boys at a mall? Should I consciously only cast white dancers for now on? If I’m racist does that mean you’re pro-segregation?! I’m from LA & shot the video there. I referenced 90s hip hop videos and Michael Jackson because both of those things inspire me & played a big part of my childhood. The only thing I’m sorry for is if this post seems to come off self defensive,which it isn’t meant to be…but I had to share these thoughts because it drove me up the wall. Don’t demean the actors & dancers in the video. They are more well spoken & aware than you and I will ever be. Please do research before you make such shitty accusations about people. Anyways…Thank you SSENSE & Atom Factory Management & Grant Singer for making this video happen. We have been trying to make it for a while & I’m so glad I get to share it with the world now <3333333