So what do you do if you’re a famous fashion photographer- did I say Terry Richardson?-, banned from working with all major magazines and investigated by NYPD because of multiple sexual assaults?
You go to Brazil and direct a video clip featuring exaggerated sexualization and exploitation of women. Bingo!
The latest video clip from Brazilian singer Anitta, “Vai Malandra”, directed by Terry Richardson, who is being investigated by the NYPD's Special Victims Squad for sexual assault and is persona non-grata in the most powerful editorial’s rooms, was released on Dec.18th 2017, and had 14 millions views on Youtube in only one day.
The video clip starts with a huge close up of Anitta’s butt shaking frantically in the rhythm of the music:
„Go, naughty girl... I'm crazy,
I'm playing with my butt
From the back yea, I'm into that…”
“…Booty big sit a glass on it
See my zipper put that ass on it
Hypnotized by the way you shake it
I can not lie.
Anitta baby I'm tryna Spank it”, and so on… Pure poetry!
The hyper-sexualized video clip was filmed in Morro do Vidigal, one of many Rio de Janeiro’s favelas commanded by drug dealers, and one of the most violent places on earth for women.
Anitta’s song has stirred a big discussion and divided opinions about the thin line between being sexually empowered and being Objectified. Some feminists affirm that the empowerment of women is doing whatever they want with their bodies. But where is the empowerment when we look at the rapper tapping the music’s rhythm on Anitta’s butt and singing about all he is going to do to her booty? The one who has the power obviously is not Anitta, who is merely an object to be used for his own entertainment.
Okay, someone can say that Anitta is not the first aspiring singer to use this short-cut to fame; before her many have already used “talents” other than their voices to become famous singers; Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, J-Lo to name a few. But in a time of movements such as #MeToo and #TimeIsUp, after numerous revelations over Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse of women in the film industry, the choice of Terry Richardson as Anitta’s video director goes exactly in the opposite direction, it is a slap on the face of every woman who has ever suffered any kind of sexual abuse.
Brazilian cultural anthropologist Juliana Borges wrote in an article about this video clip “…When we are experiencing such an important moment in which women are raising their voices against sexist abuse, harassment, and violence in the cultural industry … the least we should do is guarantee the ostracising of the abusers”. And again, who is behind Anitta’s butt video-clip? Terry Richardson, notoriously accused of rape.
Empowerment is to use your energy and charisma as a woman to build an equalitarian and dignified society. We are by no means preaching the end of eroticism, the aesthetics of sexual desire has been producing the most amazing works of art; paintings, sculptures, ballet, music. On the other hand, Anitta and Terry Richardson are promoting the normality of sexual violence against women, in a culture that reinforces male superiority.
Thankfully many women wouldn’t agree with the director’s choice and the message of Anitta’s songs as we could see at the 2018 Golden Globe Award when Oprah Winfrey made a beautiful and powerful speech while receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award, reminding girls and women about strength and courage, and that is where real power is:
"So I want all the girls watching, here and now, to know that a new day is on the horizon!" she concluded. "And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'me too' again!"
Photo Source: Instagram