November 02, 2012

No Doubt's Looking Hot video

The long line of recent offenders against Natives--Paul Frank, the Gap, Lana Del Rey, the nun at Kateri's canonization, Aubrey O'Day, Ricki Lake--continues with a music video from No Doubt. Here's a gushing appreciation of the video:

Yeehaw! Gwen Stefani dresses as a Native American, cavorts with a wolf, and ends up handcuffed in No Doubt's new Wild West themed music video

By Eleanor GowerAs a fashion designer, pop star and all-round trend setter, Gwen Stefani is never one to do things by half measures.

And never more so than in No Doubt's latest video for their song Looking Hot, where she dresses as a Native American Squaw.

The 43-year-old star wears her blonde hair in a long straight style, complete with a headband and single feather and is first seen handcuffed outside the sheriff's office in the Wild West.

The star has a white Indian headdress around her hair and sports fringed white trousers, while two No Doubt band members point a gun at her.

The video is no longer online--more on that later--but this article gives you the video's story in words and pictures.

Unlike the previous offenders, this wasn't just a single image or costume. It was a whole narrative based on Plains stereotypes and violence against Native women. People reacted quickly to the affront.

Gwen Stefani and No Doubt Release Latest Music Video, Its Stereotypical Native Theme Garners Criticism

By Vincent SchillingOn November 2, the second day of Native American Heritage Month, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt released her latest music video for “Lookin Hot” on YouTube. In the video Stefani wears a series of American Indian styled outfits while appearing in a series of situations such as being handcuffed and tied to a wall, dancing in and around teepees and fighting cowboys.

Soon after the video was released, a backlash on Twitter erupted and dislikes jumped from 60 to over 700 in a few hours. Several YouTube viewers made comments in frustration and support of the video.

One comment on YouTube stated: “This video is very insensitive and very discourteous. Stefani, you have disrespected and slighted the entire Native American people with your counterfeit portrayal of our heritage. The way you pranced and frolic around, dressed in so called Native American attire, is a mockery of our way of life and culture. You have also debased all Native American women. The word squaw is very insulting and demeaning to me and all Native American women.”

Some addition comments on a Facebook post:This video is RACIST. I am deeply disappointed in Gwen who I have always loved. Playing Indian is an act of asserting racial power, I don't think she wants to be that person, and yet here she is doing it.

This article is about Halloween costumes but also applies to "artistic" appropriation of Native stereotypes. If my comment surprises you PLEASE read this:

WTH! C'mon! Get a clue Stefani! Cultural misappropriation!!!

Not to mention that Native American regalia looks nothing like that. It looks like she's wearing a bikini top with a skirt. No Native woman would dress like that. They respect their culture and wear it with pride.
To their credit, No Doubt reacted quickly to the criticism:

No Doubt pulls racist 'Looking Hot' video and apologizes for cultural appropriation

By Carina Adly MacKenzieIn response, No Doubt has removed the video from their YouTube channel and issued an official statement apologizing for its content. Read the full statement below.

As a multi-racial band our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures. Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history. Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately. The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness. We sincerely apologize to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video. Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are.

That was more or less a straight apology, so that's good. But it left us wondering who these "Native American studies experts" are. I find it hard to believe that Native academics would approve these stereotypes.

More comments from another Facebook post:Jesus what is wrong with people?! At least they didn't try and defend it and pulled the video immediately. Why do people want to "dress up" like us anyway? We're not some fictionalized characters from a story book. Dumb asses.

Disappointing to see but we should've known. Gwen just started in reverse order (global then local) by exploiting those Harijuku girls on her solo album. after being inspired (biting) their style. And marking it up 500% for her L.A.M.B. line...

Gwen is the biggest culture vulture. I understand being influenced by different cultures, but Gwen is the embodiment of "cultural appropriation." I was also taken aback by that part of the response "we consulted with Native American experts...."

How could they ever think this wouldn't be offensive? This absolute mockery of our culture has got to stop.
Anyway, the bottom line is that online activism got the video removed in just a few hours. Once again it proves that protests work.

For more on the subject, see Research Proves Mascots Are Harmful and 1491s on Redface and Blackface.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

From the photos, the video reminds me of that ancient "Custer's Revenge" videogame. Rob, you could add an image of that to the montage here for good effect.