Just months after UK pop singer Lily Allen was levelled with accusations of racism over the video for comeback single Hard Out Here, US singer Sky Ferreira has now responded via Facebook to allegations her recent video for I Blame Myself is “a racist mess” and used “black people as props.”
The video at the centre of the controversy depicts the singer and model as a stylised gang leader called in to settle a dispute between feuding soldiers. Ferreira is then pictured being chauffeured by her black male crew, dancing with them, and is later shown being arrested and interrogated.
“I’m tired of seeing black people used as props,” read one viewer’s response to the clip on Facebook. Meanwhile, Huffington Post affiliate Alex Berg took to Twitter to write, “Sky Ferreira’s new video is a racist mess. She, white woman, dances in Compton in front of [people of colour].”
Most critics centred on the depiction of Ferreira’s co-stars, including some that wrote, “Just because racism isn’t intentional or blatant doesn’t mean it’s not racism,” and “these actors BECAUSE of their skin colour are automatically reduced to the neighbourhood setting you shot this video in.”
Responding on Facebook, Ferreira wrote, “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,” she continues. “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.” The singer says she simply chose the most skilled performers.
“Would you feel more at ease if I danced with a bunch [of] blond white boys at a mall?” Ferreira goes on to ask. “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.”