Sunday, 22 May 2011

First watch the video again.
On Vevo: Here it is.
Or here!

Have a read: (from MTV Music website)
"As if solo singles like "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" and "Diva" and Destiny's Child's "Independent Women" didn't alert you, Beyoncé works the female-empowerment angle hard. But in case you missed the message the first (half-dozen) times, she's taking no chances with new single "Run the World (Girls)," which hammers the point home with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. It is, for all intents and purposes, a pneumatically powered anthem for the ladies.

And the video for the song, which premiered Wednesday night (May 18) during "American Idol," is no different. Directed by Francis Lawrence, the video transports B to Africa, where she leads a ragtag army of females into battle against the forces of the Y chromosome, who seem none too impressed with her (many) gyrations, or her reappropriations of gender stereotypes, including the owning of hyenas as pets and the whole concept of a warrior chief.

But perhaps it's reading too much into things to assign sexual politics to the video's visuals (though it's certainly an interesting practice), since, really, "(Girls)" is a lot like most Beyoncé clips: a big, brash thing, full of elaborate, hip-displacing dance routines, haute-couture costuming, wide-screen cinematography and expensive-looking sets. Fans may be divided about the song itself — it's definitely a departure, borrowing heavily from Major Lazer's rattling "Pon de Floor" and dancehall riddims in general — but they will certainly have no issue with the video. Not if they've followed her entire career, that is."

The Lyrics:Girls, we run this motha (yeah!) x4

Who run the world? Girls! x4
We run this motha? Girls! x4
Who run the world? Girls! x4

[Beyonce - Verse 1]

Some of them men think they freak this like we do
But no they don't
Make your cheques come at they neck,
Disrespect us no they won't

Boy don't even try to take us
Boy this beat is crazy
This is how they made me
Used to take this baby
This goes out to all my girls
That's in the club rocking the latest
Who will buy it for themselves and get more money later

I think I need a barber
None of these hoes can fade me
Im so good with this,
I remind you im so hood with this

Boy im just playing, come here baby
Hope you still like me, If you hate me
My persuasion can build a nation
In this hour, our love we can devour
You'll do anything for me


Who run the world? Girls! x4
We run this motha? Girls! x4

Who run the world? Girls! x4

[Beyonce - Verse 2]

It's hot up in here
DJ don't be scared to run this, run this back
I'm repping for the girls who taking over the world

Have me raise a glass for the college grads

Anyone rolling I'll let you know what time it is
You can't hold me
I broke my 9 to 5 and copped my cheque
This goes out to all the women getting it in,
Get on your grind
To the other men that respect what I do
Please accept my shine

Boy you know you love it
How we're smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bare the children
Then get back to business
See, you better not play me
Don't come here baby
Hope you still like me
If you hate me!


My persuasion can build a nation
In this hour
Our love we can devour
You'll do anything for me


Who run the world? Girls! x4
We run this motha? Girls! x4
Who run the world? Girls! x4

The Reviews for the music video:

Far more interesting is how viewers have reacted to it - not necessarily accepting the preferred reading of female empowerment! Have a read here to get some other (negotiated and oppositional) readings.

Read them here or look at the extract below:
"Beyoncé's new video concerning feminine empowerment features scantily clad women saluting men all...wait, what?Beyoncé's new album 4, is coming out on the 28th June. Her first single 'Run The World (Girls)' is a bit of a disaster—an unhinged, mash-up lifted wholesale from Major Lazer's 'Pon De Floor'; interspersed with breakdown moments that do nothing but attempt to distance everything else from the fact that the whole thing is Major Lazer's 'Pon De Floor'. It ain't a mistake: Major Lazer mastermind Diplo co-produced 4. (Which evidently entails pushing your own tracks on to the artist in return for a stupidly exorbitant licensing fee—nice work if you can get it.)
But perhaps the most tragic aspect of 'Run The World (Girls)' is its complete absence of a hook. In fact, 'Pon De Floor's hugely-recognisable cut-up vocal sample is about as close as it comes. Furthermore, in the new clip here, Beyonce and Co. evidently run the world by strapping on the suspenders and stilettos in order to frolick about in service of a wall of advancing military men. These same world-running women who—at video's end, in some kind of image that is possibly supposed to be a ham-fisted tribute to "our boys"—salute their attackers.
And the comments on this post:
- "Wow, that's a pretty silly review. Why does the premise fail simply because she has the audacity to exude female sexuality? That's more sexist than anything you're suggesting. But what you fail to recognise is that it's quite deliberately playing on those things, kind of inverting the meaning projected onto those things - such as the hairflipping in one scene - by blending them through very male, military-like symbols. You forget that the whole thing is set in a future apocalypse, etc, so it's kind of a joke - that one day, women will rise up, using, ironically, the male gaze as a means of enslaving ("you'll do anything for me..." she croons). I like it - it's smart, and actually more like Madonna - in sentiment - than anything Gaga is doing. And so what if they laid it over his backbeat - it's his - and pop music has been bringing underground music to the surface for years, and surely that's better than bombarding kids with the pop cheese they're getting drilled with lately? And better than her simply stealing? It ends up a much better track than the original, and I think pop artists should be applauded for being a bit different, if she released standard rubbish you'd whip her for that."

- "I'm with the reviewer on this one - i usually love Beyonce but was so disappointed in this clip. yeah sure I can see that the ladies need to start getting angry to start moving up in the world but images of Beyonce giving the finger somehow felt contrived - unauthentic. And why the unoriginal reiteration of "hot woman in lingerie stuns the boys"? I'd have liked to see see a more original way of taking on the boys, particularly if that's supposed to be the future. No joke - too much raunch for my own liking and not enough just women being comfortable in their skin, killing it."

- "Beyonce wears *less* in her 'Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)' clip, yet that's the most quintessential (and powerful) Beyonce video of all time. Compared to that, there's nothing particularly unusual about the clip, clothing or politics of 'Run The World (Girls)'. It's simply a weak song. It's the sort of simple, short, repetitious melody and clipped/autotune vocals you expect from pop-frauds like The Black Eyed Peas. A bummer. This style is beneath her."

Next, this is an interesting take, a definitely NEGOTIATED reading of the video:

“Run the World (Girls)”, by Beyonce; music video directed by Francis Lawrence
Beyoncé has become G.I.Bee. The purposely anticipated music video for her first single off her fourth solo album called “4” which will be released on June 28, 2011. “Run the World (Girls)” has arrived, and while there is a lot going on, at the same time, there also really isn’t (on the surface). From the beginning, with the slow-motion scene of Beyoncé riding a beautiful black horse, and army men running amuck, the horse lets out a huge kick, having B looking like an Annie Oakley meets Lady Godiva; the video urges viewers to be prepared for a mini-revolution to occur in front of them. Yet, from the teasers released weeks prior to the full-length, fans will quickly notice that what they expected to see is completely different, as the teasers even color-wise were almost pastel and steely, as opposed to the actual video in which the color trend is neutral and muted, matching the glamour puss ire of G.I. Bee and her entourage of girl power.

Before the actual tune of the sampled Major Lazer “Pon de Floor” takes off, Beyoncé interplays four characters of girls ranging from the Annie Godiva; a space age fembot; a red-flapped school girl in a McQueen number; an African head-dressed queen; and then a hood fabulous show-off, dirty bleach blonde hair utterly tussled. Once the song begins, she aggressively swings her head and shoulders while asking the militia that’s come to stop her dancing extravaganza, “Who runs this mutha?” and “Girls!” whispers excitedly in the back. The chorus kicks in, and G.I. Bee and her two sedated faced male dancers synchronize their Michael and Janet Jackson influenced moves that oscillate from awkward to being flirty and intricate. The King of Pop’s legacy’s is obviously presented here, but there’s another gem of history exercised in this gender wars metropolis in the dust. Those overwhelming shimmies and knee jiffs you see (that also look like a cooler version of the Irish stage staple The Riverdance) are part of traditional African step called Pantsula, originating from South Africa, as African dance moves are celebrated throughout “Run the World (Girls)”. The video actually features 200 dancers, including the fantastic Mozambican troupe Tofo Tofo, all of whom were flown to L.A. to give the video that real alluring, otherworldly feel that is unique and supremely affective when done right by those who know their culture well. This African dance tinged with a bit of Rhythm Nation circa 1989 is a superlative juncture to the rest of the video and what you truly expected to witness from G.I. Bee’s diverse feminist dystopia.

While the addition of African dancers is certainly worthy of applause, allowing room for an transatlantic moment in popular culture from a known American artist, as Beyoncé pays respect to a rich aestheticism that is said to be highly important to the content of 4, the video is grandiose in its attempt to be epic, but quickly loses steam. G.I. Bee goes on to act sexually and mentally voracious towards her male cohorts who look both amused and confused at her behavior. The video and song are both new outlooks for Beyoncé whose showing a more intellectually daring woman in 2011 when all we’ve been fed since she went solo in 2003 was ample servings of naughty girl habits, though since 2009’s I Am…Sasha Fierce, she’s been making strides in taking the whole bad or boss bitch movement to a level the Top 40 landscape can understand. Though she rocks the shine out of luxurious brands like Givenchy, Pucci, and those Starship Enterprise Gareth Pugh heels, as Beyoncé flips off the middle finger and growls to the camera, some may feel they still can’t get behind her girl power gathering in regards to the visuals because the video as whole is more frivolous than fabulous. There is no real sense of together-ness coming from Beyoncé’s team, more so just an excuse to cause havoc with frantic dancing and demands of bringing back a hardcore redux of a second-wave women’s liberation. The message is for sure is greatly commendable, as it’s almost charitable to see one of music’s most recognized (and wealthy) names give a grand shout-out to women and girls everywhere from the flyest girls in the club, to the college grads, to mothers who’ve recently given birth and get back to their grind. This is not a new motif in The World According to Beyoncé, as her biggest hits include “Independent Women” with Destiny’s Child, “Irreplaceable”, and of course the infectious smash “Single Ladies (Put A Ring on It)”, but never has she sounded this agitatedly rambunctious with her long-standing movement of ladies first. The message is enthusiastic, the video though could use some work.

Directed by Francis Lawrence, the music video wants to be revolutionary, especially because of the fervent nature of the song, but this kind of sassy agenda sprinkled heavy with assertive prowess is also still new to Beyoncé and it shows despite how hard she dances (and the choreography along with the fashion quite frankly bedazzles) and how sincere she is in delivering her message. The video almost indirectly seems like a jump-off from her collaboration with Lady Gaga on “Telephone” as she was locked into a crazy, Technicolor world of lettuce dances and pro-female jails. The work she did with Gaga is weaved into the abrupt mechanics of “Girls”, but Beyoncé has yet to possess that edgy, crazy weird demeanor that someone like Gaga has mastered. This is a great venture for Beyoncé to give into, but our Texan belle needs more practice and maybe even more research of music, fashion and women’s history’s most controversial icons to really be a student of those fields and when presenting sometimes brash imagery (such as the quick shot of a young girl looking tied to a crucifix in the introduction).< The video at times is also is just plain boring as during the middle of it features her in a slit to the thighs yellow sheath still dancing away, but the result is pointless. The video ends with a dance-off in front of an all-male army with Beyoncé and her African (which then looks to be including the Ethiopian swag of the Eskesta) and Indian touched sways and thrusts, with hundreds of ladies following her lead. The video somewhat disappoints, as the shots from the teasers would’ve made it a better clip, and even some of the fashion choices were completely wasted as the African Queen headdress that’s shown only once could’ve been the emblem of the song. You’ll find yourself almost liking the video for “Run the World (Girls)”, but you’ll also catch yourself asking, what exactly is she fighting for? Girls definitely can run the world, and one of should’ve saved this video with possibly a re-edit."
Read the whole thing here with the pictures:

Here is another reaction from Diva Devotee Blog:
Video review: Beyoncé does Post-apocolyptic Stripper in new video for "Who runs the world (girls)"
"However, what we get with the full video is nothing more than a glorified dance video with lots of editorial posturing. Instead of Beyonce playing the part of a strong revolutionary leader of womenkind in the video, she comes across like a post-apocalyptic madam making that money by putting on a sexy show with her "girls" for a group of rowdy men on a post-apocalyptic stag do."
As the author says, check this next YouTube video to get a radically different reading of beyonce's video! (A male's perspective - WARNING: Lots of swearing - But a definite proof that the male Gaze is catered for!!!)
YouTube:Beyonce Run The World (Girls) Music Video Review

And here is an interesting take on what post-feminism might mean in this day and age: Houston Press article (Actually about The Veronicas but interesting nonetheless and mentions Beyonce)
"I recently came across an article about The Veronicas that, in addition to mentioning the Australian-born duo in the same breath as Katy Perry (cringe) and Lady GaGa (shudder), used the term "post-post feminist" to describe all three acts.

The question here is not what the hell "post-post feminist" is supposed to mean — the answer is probably that it doesn't mean anything — the question is why we still, in 2009, feel it necessary to hash out what brand of sexy, nonthreatening "feminism" our female pop stars are carrying in their handbags as they strut and fret and smile innocuously across the ruddy carpet of our culture.

As the F-word devolves further into marketing PR-speak, we're left with Katy Perry's infantilized, finger-sucking "naughtiness" — sexual transgression for the sake of male titillation more than anything — and a long list of songs that are Feminist Lite at best. (Really, Beyoncé could find another guy? What power! Meanwhile, Jay-Z's got 99 problems, and, um, a lady ain't one.)"

Here is a student's stake on Post-Feminism in today's media:

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