A dancer from Mastodon’s unexpectedly twerk-filled “The Motherload” video took to Tumblr last week to respond to allegations that the video was sexist. The dancer, Jade, defended the metal band’s decision to cast dancers from their hometown of Atlanta and have them do what they do best. According to Jade, shooting the video was a blast, and any controversy is unwarranted.
“Within minutes of the video dropping, there was a serious backlash,” Jade wrote in her post Thursday. “While most people seemed to ‘get’ the band’s shout-out to their hometown, Atlanta, others called it racist and sexist. Funny, the most sexist and racist sentiments came not from filming the actual video, but from a subset of metal fans who thought we simply didn’t belong.”
Jade, a “pole dance student with a background in African American literature and cultural theory,” said she and the other dancers, whose backgrounds ranged from ballet dancers to professional strippers, bonded with each other and the band during filming. The video, she explained, wasn’t sexist, mocking, or satirical. It was intended to be fun and welcoming.
One of the reasons this video, for me, is garnering so much attention is that truly the women are not just asses—and there are a lot of fantastic asses in the building—but shown as 3D people, which scares folk. Another is the concern for cultural appropriation. From us and from them. The fear of metal being “tainted”, the fear of the band using a dance form associated with black culture for their own gain. These fears boil down into my one response: we all belong.
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“This video proves that metal can reach out and can be reached out to without parody, without hierarchy, and it is a good thing,” she continued. “Ask us if it was racist or sexist. We were the ones right there experiencing it. I’ll tell you from my view: no.”
In an interview with Pitchfork last week, Mastodon’s Brann Dailor expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the video, from the band’s latest album Once More ‘Round the Sun, was intended to have an inclusive message. Read Jade’s full post on her Tumblr, and watch “The Motherload” video above.