Lilly Allen Hard Out Here Yellow

An Open Letter to Lily Allen & Miley Cyrus: Stop Twerking, It’s Racist!

Twerking may be universal, however, pegging it to black women only has racist undertones.

Is Race A Feminist Issue

Lily Allen’s new song “Hard Out Here” is supposed to be a feminist anthem, keywords; supposed to be. Instead it’s a racially charged mockery of black culture and black women in particular. The songs starts:

“I suppose I should tell you what this bitch is thinking / You’ll find me in the studio and not in the kitchen / I won’t be bragging ’bout my cars or talking ’bout my chains / Don’t need to shake my ass for you ’cause I’ve got a brain”

Right off the bat, the opening lyrics conjure up an image of hackneyed hip hop stereotypes. The video is even worse; with a gaggle of scantily clad women of color twerking, slapping and pouring champagne on each other’s asses. The whole thing is simply cliche. Once you start lurking in Miley Cyrus territory, you know you’ve done something wrong.

Miley Cyrus Allen Thicke Twerk

Albeit rap culture is an easy target, I won’t try to pretend that rap doesn’t have its own problems with misogyny and consumerism. Women are regularly degraded in rap songs and their videos, and it’s NOT okay either. But what Lily Allen, Miley Cyrus and others like them fail to see is that by continuing to perpetuate these stereotypes they’re not fixing the problems, they are actually fueling them.

What Lily Allen doesn’t seem to get is that her video is no better than Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Not only is her wannabe feminist flick still misogynistic, it’s also racist. Her video isn’t empowering women of color, to the contrary it’s further demeaning them. One could even say it’s blaming them for their own tribulations, by making a mockery of the struggles that black (or any, for that matter) women in the music industry and society face.

Lily Allen Hard Out Here Twerking

Seems to me like these white artists are so oblivious to the ever-present white savior complex that is embedded in our culture, that they don’t think twice about exploiting black women to make statements about general culture that are not theirs to make.

Women of color are consistently used as objects to make statements about the ills of society. Instead of giving them a platform to express themselves, their voices are muted by white artists who feel that they somehow know how to fix their problems better than themselves. This idea of the white man’s burden has been around for centuries; originally used as a propaganda campaign to gain popular opinion for the slave trade and so called “civilizing missions.” Now the problem lies in the fact that over 200 years later, some white folks seem to still have it in their heads that it is their duty to save this caricature of a pitiful  black figure that centuries of racism and ignorance has created.

Somehow, through decades of protests, riots, and civil rights and black power movements, some white people still haven’t gotten the memo. So to clear things up;

Dear Lily Allen, Miley Cyrus, and whomever else is planning on putting out the next satirical hip hop video, we got this. We don’t need to be saved from ourselves. We have our own voices in the black community who can serve as agents for any change that needs to be made. We are capable. Same thing goes for women in general.

Lily Allen, you are right about one thing, it is “Hard Out Here,” but you’re not making it any easier.



Black Fist Illustration
Lilly Allen Hard Out Here Yellow

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  • Young Gerald levert

    How you make song that “empowers women” when the chorus literally says Its “hard out here for a bitch” then make a video that starts addressing the issue of woman being objectified, but literally have a slow motion shot of the an ass getting slapped with a ripple effect. Now don’t me wrong, personally I like seeing ass as much as the next guy (I am a male sorry ladies) but when you clearly insult my intelligence, as this video did it leaves me with a bunch of mixed feelings. Sorry Lily Allen but a co-sign from Common ain’t going get you a pass.
    she needs to take that Biggie dress off too

  • I know the fact that I comment is kinda contradicting to what I’m gonna say, but here goes:

    “…they’re not fixing the problems, they are actually fueling them.” That’s exactly what you’re doing. Also, this is exactly what they want. That people talk and complain about them. Just don’t give them the attention they want so they are forced to be creative.

  • Alfredo Valentin

    uh guys…….Lilly’s Video is satire,she is mocking all those other videos Ala the roots “what they do”

  • T Lo…you know!

    yeah…we know, the point was it was corny

  • NotAPancake

    This article IS quite eloquent and necessary. Especially for white mass appeal readers. . . Just because one person sees it as ‘complaining’ proves how the black voice is constantly silenced , and why? so white girl gets to play like she’s black for fun? Making a novelty out of ONE dimension of black culture as if it’s the ONLY dimension? BLACKS disrespect their own women enough already, we don’t need white girls trying to polish shit and put it out like its something new. And even better, when white girls act like this is revered by all of america but if a black male does it its worth condemning his whole life’s work? White families play miley cyrus but would they listen to any mysogynistic rap music by a black artist? just the white man profiting off of blacks as always…. lol

  • anonymous

    Your entitled to your opinion .. but I don’t think she is making fun of black women,. I think she is stating the obvious, that women regardless of there color of skin continue to objectify themselves for money (specifically there ass) which is going to continue the stereotypes. Lily allen clearly states that she is deliberately doing what media wants her to do. “lose weight, cook, have money, and shake your ass.” Instead of putting her down, I would encourage you to look at this from her perspective. I also would encourage you to maybe try to unite with white women instead of separate yourself and get defensive. Regardless of a women’s skin color, we still experience stereotypes. discrimination. and prejudice in the workplace and in the media. (glass ceiling effect- look it up) I agree with you on miley cyrus, because she is definitely being racist and needs a class in african american studies, but I think lily allen is actually stating something powerful yet controversial, like kanye west. Instead of taking this offensively, realize that both you and her both want the same thing. Equality and respect and positive attention from your brain. Maybe lily allen is pushing it a little to far and being a smart ass, but tbh when black women shake there ass and put it out there in the public over and over again, what do they expect? But its not okay for a white woman to comment on this because that would be racist right? This may not be helping bring positive attention to black women, but it is showing the facts and being honest about what is going on in the media. I love hip hop and rap, but there isn’t one day that goes by where I go on my news feed and there isn’t some woman’s ass being exposed “twerking” Maybe due to the racism that occurred with the clippers, this is a bandwagon and making prejudice a heated issue of the moment. All I know is this isn’t the same as miley cyrus.