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Is Florence + The Machine's New Music Video Racist?

| Filed under: Music MinuteYouTubeFlorence and The Machine

According to an on-line debate that has erupted on the YouTube page for the clip, then POSSIBLY!

That's right, upon the release of the music video for No Light, No Light, the new single from Florence + The Machine off of her new album, Ceremonials, many users of the social networking site singled out a scene, featuring singer Florence Welch being harmed by a voodoo doll before being rescued by an all-white choir of young boys - because of the thematic connotations, as well as one actor wearing 'black face and body paint!'

onaheatwave observes:

"Oh man, it's a good thing those little white choir boys were there to save her from that big, black voodoo doing black man! I love the song, but I also will not be rewatching."

25karibear maintains:

"Its a video about a girl and her demons, of loving someone and that moment you realize they never felt the same. If all you get from this is some stupid race accusation, then maybe you should restrict yourself to videos of Sesame St. characters."

However, chinklicious counters:

"Art can be offensive too. The black man as a mysterious voodoo artist, a bag over his head so he is dehumanized…t he black man chasing the white woman who falls into the safe hands of a gaggle of white school children while the black offender is shrouded in dark shadows.

"If this isn't subtle (or not so subtle) racism then I don't know what is. This is the kind of stuff that people watch and subconsciously internalize, and is ultimately projected as outwards racism."

Inneresting arguments, right?

Watch the video for yourself (above)!

What do U think?? Is there some racism going on here??

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48 comments to “Is Florence + The Machine's New Music Video Racist?”

  1. 1

    this is old news. and no, she is not racist.


  2. 2

    I thought that at first. I was like, that dude is Asian, people are gonna talk about this. But as an Afro Trinidadian, I'm not offended by it. I thought it was her inner demons chasing her then she found God at the end, when she feel in to church. I didn't even think oh, white kids, I thought, God, heaven, church. It's black, not brown skinned. I didn't really see what they saw at fisrt, but knowing the world we live in, I knew it would come up. I like her and Hot Chips and Cold play. I love and am used to what my friends call 'weird' music and music videos. I like artsy stuff that's opened to interpretation.

  3. 3

    if you have to debate if something is, or is not racist, it is not racist by default.

    it's idiots who always label things as racist that aren't that keep racism alive.

  4. 4

    until people can ignore skin color and not go OH THERE IS A BLACK MAN and then come up with a way to make it racist, it will always thrive.

    if everyone, including the people labeling this video as racist, saw everyone the same the stupid assumptions of random things being "racist" would die. i don't see people by skin color, i just see people as people. the idiots accusing this video of being racist should stop being racist and do the same.

  5. 5

    I watched it again. She's in a realationship with an abusive man with bright blue eyes. The dark beings are HIS abusive inner demons trying to hurt her. She left him at the end and the demons are convulsing. They can't hurt her anymore because they no longer have power over her.

  6. 6

    Between the NAACP, the black expo, the national negro college fund, the black circus etc etc they can shut up about racism.

  7. 7

    The video would have been stupid if the person doing voodoo was white…think about it.

  8. 8

    The video would have been stupid if the person doing voodoo was white. Think about it.

  9. 9

    Was the White Chicks movie racist?

  10. 10

    deliciously racist

  11. 11

    Black and white is always a metaphor for the Light and the Darkness. People are just always looking for controversy. Nature of the beast.

  12. 12

    Possibly? You'd say absolutely if it was anyone not on your favorites list. You just condemned a black face incident in one of your rants not long ago. You're as transparent as those botched hair plugs.

  13. 13

    Re: thebigboot – Co-sign.

  14. 14

    racism is used as a tool in this video, and yea, i'm offended.

  15. 15

    I think finding racism that isnt there is racist

  16. 16

    Uh-oh there's the colors black and white. Lets over think the whole thing and try to find a way to make it racist, because we have nothing better to do. Geez.

  17. 17

    I love Florence and the Machine and I love this video. As a black person, I don't find anything racist about it. People who say it's racist really don't understand the true meaning of the video because it wasn't meant to be racist. The true meaning of the video is to show that she is trying to run away from her demons that have been taunting her; torturing her(voodoo doll). Then she's saved by the choir, in the case God. So, people need to shut the hell up and deal with it. *sips tea*

  18. 18

    Re: thebigboot – well no because it was someone painting there skin white. Which for some reason is completly okay. If it was black chicks. It would have been racist. Thank you America for your double standards *insert expletives here*

  19. 19

    i hate when people claim racism for every little thing. it really trivializes the issue.

  20. 20

    I dont think this racist, HOWEVER I do find that white people in particular, never want to aknowledge when something really is racist. Anytime you call it out (racism) suddenly youre pulling the race card, when the truth is if the shit is racist its fuckin racist, a spade is a spade no matter which way you cut the deck.

  21. 21

    A little bit racist? Kind of. Christian propaganda? Absolutely.

  22. 22

    well since i'm black i'm just going to speak for all black (lol just kidding, dont go all crazy on me people) I don't think its racist at all. I think the guy is supposed to being playing some sort of voodoo person. If it was a white guy that message probably wouldn't have come across. I hate that people are so quick to pull the race card.

  23. 23

    Please people just love to overreact over the littlest things. This is not racist and it saddens me how quickly people can call something racist without actually realizing what they're watching.

  24. 24

    As someone who has studied ,and majored in media aesthetics I can honestly say that this music video IS in fact racist. Let me break it down to those who might not understand…There is a women who is white being chased by a man (or demon), that happens to have what we call 'blackface', which he clearly has on( I could see if he was completely black but if you look closely you see the red lips). The children in the choir are all white ( if there were children of different nationalities it might have some validation to not be racist). It may be trying to invoke a feeling in the audience that racism is still alive and breathing. A lot of the comments on here are defending her, but are not stating facts…What do you see? Last time I checked demons where that of a inhuman characteristics…And voodoo was a AFRICAN religion.

  25. 25

    this argument it absolutely ridiculous. people honestly need to find more things to do with their day. people have picked this video apart so that they can try and make it seem like they have a valid argument which they do not. a lot of the comments are concerning the all white chior, so i guess movies that have all black choirs are racist as well. by people calling racism at stupid things such as this the term actually loses its effectiveness. now everything becomes racist and we become desensitized to the thought because its nothing new. people need to stop calling everything racist so that when something is actually racist it will impact everyone.

  26. 26

    I'm sick of people looking for things to be offended by. I don't see anything racist about this video… Give me a break. The guy is clearly painted dark to represent a dark voodoo character.

  27. 27

    if you have to put "darkness" into a color, let's say for music video, what color would it be??? so no, I don't think is racist at all.

  28. 28

    How is this racist in any ways? The way I see it, the voodoo doctor is Flo's past that's haunting her and controlling her. She's trying to run away from it, but it's catching up to her fast. In the end, she finds relief in her faith, hence the choir boys.

  29. 29

    Re: hallsy – oh shut the fuck up and pull that stick out your anus. never read such bullshit. Good luck finding a group of choirboys in the UK full of black children.

  30. 30

    Re: simonamona – I'm glad you see the truth for what it is. People, this is in fact racist in the classic White=good, Black=bad theme. What kills me is that if we are gonna go there with demons, demons do not necessarily take one form of color or the other… Even Satan comes to us as an angel of light. This 'light' can come in the form of Wicca, yoga, new age philosophies, Mormonism, Buddhism, Jehovah's witness, free masonry, even Catholicism! As far as God is concerned, these 'beliefs' are no different than voodoo or any other dark, 'black', demonic false religion. In that case, this video can replace Florence with a young Black female, say, Gabrielle union running away from the beloved pope, escaping her dark days of bondage, idolatry, as a catholic. The day I see more balanced images such as this, no fool can tell me videos like this are not racist. Screw your race card…

  31. 31

    Re: Ted2177Re: Ted2177 – in case you didn't know, whites practice vodoo all the time. Except you people call it new age, paganism, druidism, astrology, mythology (Greek and roman), Satanism, should I go on…..???

    as far as God is concerned, its all demonic, hence by the overtones of this video,'BLACK'… You get it now?

  32. 32

    Re: simonamona
    "s someone who has studied ,and majored in media aesthetics I can honestly say that this music video IS in fact racist."
    Oh, yes, the whole "I majored in this, so I know what I'm talking about more than the rest of you do" argument. I majored in agriculture, and I recognize bullshit when I see it.

  33. 33

    Re: matusadona
    "this video can replace Florence with a young Black female, say, Gabrielle union running away from the beloved pope, escaping her dark days of bondage, idolatry, as a catholic."
    And why would they do that? Just for the sake of having balance? Name one Black female artist even remotely interested in doing a video like this. I can't think of one (well, maybe Janelle Monae), and the minute one does anything that would resemble something that goes against religion, people starting hurling Illuminati and other bullshit conspiracy theories.

  34. 34

    Re: matusadona – The Bible actually says the colors demons have and the way Lucifer sort of looks like (he had different forms). You can also find the specification of their kind in the apocryphas.

  35. 35

    OMG fucking Americans, get over it, your all so sensitive, there's nothing racist about this video!

  36. 36

    Re: SissyBurden
    "I majored in agriculture, and I recognize bullshit when I see it"….
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    LoLoLoL -

  37. 37

    Re: SissyBurden

    LMFAO! Classic!

  38. 38

    Re: matusadona – IF you majored in agriculture what makes you think you're capable of accurately assessing what is going on? I've spent numerous hours studying media from commercials, to feature films, and even cartoons. I know some don't want to believe that big corporations and such don't know what they're doing but they do, and they get prosecuted for it all the time; you just don't read about it the news, because guess what? They own the news too. So unless you can give me evidence that CLEARLY defends your argument, or have some kind of background in media, or even film…Talk to me because you don't know ANYTHING.

  39. 39

    Yeah and women are constantly being depicted as whores/strippers/vapid in videos and how often is there an outcry about that? Regardless of colour, women have been treated horribly in videos/media in very blatant ways. If we pulled out the "sexist" card everytime a sexist image popped up we'd never put it away. All your comments are valid because this video is open to interpretation people, put your race cards back in your pockets.

  40. 40

    I don't see it as racist for this simple fact - I don't identify people by their colour. People are people, everyone is the same regardless of their colour to me. When I see a black man I don't think 'oooooh a black man'. I think 'there's a man'. It is these fools that constantly label people as 'black' or 'white' that are keeping racism alive. I hope that one day everyone can live in a world where people don't look at the colour of people's skin, but look at them as a person and judge them on what they are like as a person. This political correct bullshit has gone too far. People are not black or white - they are all just people, everyone is the same. I completely agree with thebigboot. If it was the opposite way around (i.e. the voodoo person was white and the choir was black) then noone would find a problem with it. Think about it…….

  41. 41

    Re: ElleFromVan – Amen! :D

  42. 42

    Re: Jon_Doe – I'd be happy to know the reason WHY it is ok in every sense for blacks, in particular, to refer to any white man as THE WHITE BOY. Mother of God, but I am so sick and tired of the double standards that exist racially. I'd like to see someone DARE to start a magazine and name is "IVORY," just for the white reader. Al Sharpton and his ilk would burn the building down where the magazine is published, should a magazine like that ever exist. OR, how about a WHITE MS AMERICA contest?? Again, any such thing would be shut down before it even existed. When blacks can stop referring to white MEN as that "white BOY," it will be a tiny step towards making things in this country EQUAL FOR ALL! It sure isn't like that now.

  43. 43

    it seems kind of racist to me. Black people do have issues though

  44. 44

    No it's not racist…minorities find ANY reason to pull out the race card and THAT'S why racism still exists! If you have a cast of all white people, it's racist. If you only have one black guy, it's racist. If you have a full cast of black people, it's just a cast of black people (hello BET?). When was the last time you heard a white person claim racism?? I wouldn't say I'm racist but I am white and I am proud…call me a cracker or a red neck or even a beaner (I have mexican and indian blood too), I wouldn't care because I am proud of who I am. No one is just black or white or mexican or even asian…we are all mixed by now in one way or the other. Racism needs to end, yes, but it needs to stop with people calling everything under the sun racist for no good damn reason!

  45. 45

    Re: simonamona
    I'm the one who made the agriculture major comment, which was obviously a pun that went over your head, but had I majored in it, that would have had no bearing on whether I was able to "accurately assess" what's on going here. Spare me the pseudo-intellectual bullshit, OK? One can misconstrue that comment from you as kind of elitist, don't you think?
    You didn't ACCURATELY assess anything. What you gave us was a theory. Theories are to be and can be disputed, but you don't back up theories with crap like, "I majored in such and such, so I know." I've seen racism in popular media. some of it overt, some of it subtle, and I don't need a fucking media aesthetics degree to point it out.

  46. 46

    Re: simonamona
    Art is open to interpretation. Yours isn't necessarily or always going to be the most accurate one. You wouldn't call the Mona Lisa just a portrait of a smiling woman, would you? Florence has always used dark and light metaphors in her work ("Cosmic Love" "Blinding" etc). The light and dark imagery in the video may be a bit predictable, but not necessarily racist, especially when you have to ask what the message is. Does white/light = good? Florence doesn't seem to think so ("I never knew daylight could be so violent") You yourself even pointed out, "it may be trying to invoke a feeling in the audience that racism is still alive and breathing," with which you should have went further, although the message in this video appears to be less sociological and more spiritual.
    Blackface has had a historical negative connotation and is still a sore and sensitive subject in US History, so people, when they see it today, still automatically equate blackface to racism because of the negative history behind it. It doesn't mean it always is and always will be racist.
    Madonna did something similar years ago with her "Like A Prayer, a video that was more blatant in its attack on racism, yet people were still calling it racist, because they were too busy focusing on the imagery (i.e., burning crosses) rather than the message.

  47. 47

    H8RS GET A LIFE! ! ! Flo is not racist! If you were a fan you would know that, obviously. Flo is friends with, has dated, knows, and loves all kinds of people. I seriously don't think she had any racist point of view while creating this video. Why would she want to jeopardize her fan base. You guys should listen to the song, and connect it together with the video. That oughta clear your foggy heads.

  48. 48

    Didn't Florence use a black choir during her SNL performance? The video was underwhelming at best, but I don't see it as being racist at all.