These are photos of Lily Allen out in London on Friday evening. In her own way Lily has become the queen of controversy with her new music video, and she did it all without getting naked. In this day and age, that’s quite an accomplishment in pop music.
People are calling out Lily’s video as racist, and Lily tried to defend herself against these accusations on Twitter: “If anyone thinks for a second that I requested specific ethnicities for the video, they’re wrong.” Lily also stated how she herself would have twerked along with her backup dancers, but she tried to perfect the move for two weeks and could not master it. She also mentioned her “chronic cellulite” as another reason that her dancers were dancing lustily, but she was not. Hmm.
I find those words interesting, and while I do like Lily as a pop icon, I’ll confess to never buying any of her music. Nothing against her at all, but her voice just isn’t my bag. I appreciate that she’s trying to say things that women are told they shouldn’t say, and now Lily is speaking out in a Guardian interview. The article begins with an anecdote about how (after having her first child) postpartum Lily went for a consultation at a plastic surgeon’s office a year ago. She was all scheduled for liposuction, and then four days before the procedure, she learned she was pregnant again. Naturally she did not have the surgery — she wrote a song instead. That song just happens to be “Hard Out Here.” Let’s do this:
She loves the word “bitch”: “Dolly Parton is a bitch. Adele’s a bitch. Angela Merkel is a bitch…” She’s sitting in the make-up chair listing bitches, of which she proudly counts herself one. “Rihanna’s an inspiring bitch, my mum, Miley’s a bitch, rising. She’s my hero. Kate Middleton is NOT a bitch.”
On her rep: “I’ve always been called ‘mouthy,’ when, in fact, I’m just talking. In the music industry, women have always been controlled by male execs, told to do the Kate Moss thing. Keep your mouth shut, or people will laugh at you. They’ve been talking about us like this for years, basically.”
She lives in the country with her family: “It’s nice, but it’s weird. I’m totally out of touch. When I first started, in terms of girls it was just me and Amy [Winehouse]. Now, ‘reentering the marketplace,’ it’s all girls.”
Things are so different now: “Nobody says anything real today. Most of those girls have their songs written by other people. It annoys me, because ‘eh oh eh oh ahh’ is not a chorus — that’s not a point where I feel ‘we’re connecting’, you know? I need a narrative.”
She’s changed too: “I want to sing about different things now,” she smokes. “Before I was married, my songs were directed at significant others. Now I couldn’t be happier, so it’s opened me up to write about more general stuff. There are a couple of songs to Sam, including one sexy one, about coming to terms with becoming sexual again after just being a baby-making vessel. But mainly they’re funnier and happier — less lethargic, less teenage.”
Her new music: “I’m not moaning at the world any more. Before, I was struggling. Coming out of adolescence and not knowing where I was in the world — now it’s about ownership and empowerment.” And objectification. “I’d like to think that my children’s generation won’t feel like this. Like I do. I want them to realise that not everyone can be f—ing ‘hot.’ Rather than attractiveness being the end prize, it should be as rewarding to be clever or funny, or, you know, have your, your ‘thing’.” She takes a sip of champagne through a straw before taking her place on a mirrored dance floor. It’s 11am.
Getting older is scary: “I don’t think I’m going to suit being old. That thing of – I always used to be the youngest bitch. Little Lily. Now I’m not. That scares me a bit. But that’s a product of today’s media, isn’t it? The world makes you feel like your life is over.”
The dark side of the internet: “I read it. I read it all, and they’re 90% horrible. Is that because everybody hates me? Or is it just an easy way for them to make themselves feel good, by saying something bad about someone else? And sometimes it can be really hurtful. Like when I lost my baby.”
The gossip cycle: Minutes after she gave birth to her first child, before she had told her mum, she says, the Daily Mail was on the phone. “The placenta was still IN me. The Mail Online is like carbs — you know you shouldn’t but you do. Probably two or three times a day. I hate them — it’s an atrocity, really. But I still go on it. It’s my homepage. These lyrics are a message to them, in part. We keep going back,” she takes a long pull on her cigarette, “we keep going back, because they’ve made us feel so sh-t that we have to compare ourselves, to say ‘haha she’s fat too’, in order to feel better.”
What if she’d gone through the surgery? “Now I know what the female body is capable of I have a lot more respect for it. My wide hips are for squeezing babies out of.”
[From The Guardian]
That last part confuses me. Lily rails against “objectification” (the word even appears in “Hard Out Here”), but she almost went under the knife a year ago for cosmetic reasons. As stated above, Lily said she would have dressed scantily in her video if she could dance the right way and didn’t have “cellulite.” Maybe I should just appreciate that she recognizes her own contradictions. Lily is at least trying to make a point instead of just being “hot,” right?
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN