Yes, I said it. I thought Taylor Swift‘s “Bad Blood” and Nicki Minaj‘s (surprise clip for) “Feeling Myself” were great for women in pop culture. And while I had less of an enthusiastic reaction to the Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea collabo of “Pretty Girls”, I also appreciated their project for it was another set of women in music getting together. In the month of May, I hadn’t seen that much collective girl power in so long! Regarding Swift and Minaj specifically, their videos arrived within 48 hours of each other, so I was giddy to the rim with excitement.
As any proud pop culture know-it-all knows, “Bad Blood” was a mishmash of films, television shows and characters of the sci-fi and action genres such as Sin City, Sucker Punch, Kill Bill and the Hunger Games. MTV pointed out 16 references, and all of them featured type-A, kick-ass women and dames riding off of distress and revenge in the name of liberty.
As the fourth single from 1989 and the video directed by Joseph Kahn, Swift enlisted a majority of her enviable, real-life, star-wattage girl posse as co-stars in “Bad Blood.” From beginning to end, there were non-stop cameos. Prior to its premiere at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, it almost got ridiculous, based on the movie-esque posters for it, how many stars were going to be in it. But it was effortless! Selena Gomez! Zendaya! Ellie Goulding! Jessica Alba! Cara Delevigne! Ooooo, Cindy Crawford tho! And isn’t that the girl from Empire? Kendrick Lamar‘s verses for the remix was also rave-worthy. After months of complimenting each other on their music, Swift finally got him on a track as he portrayed a wizard-like “Welvin Da Great” in her dystopia.
In the video, Swift is preparing to battle her nemesis Arsyn, played by Gomez. And while that doesn’t seem very sisterly to wanna whoop a fellow woman’s ass (the track is rumored to be about her beef with Katy Perry), the reality of that gets a pass in “Bad Blood” because of the video’s strong female presence that was initiated by Swift herself. Professionally, “Bad Blood” exhibits Swift’s power as a women in entertainment and the clip could be considered this social media generation’s biggest movie-in-a-video yet. It isn’t the first, but it will likely be the most influential and repeated.
As The Independent pointed out: With her star-studded line-up, Taylor Swift is letting everyone know that she has the access, status and power to land a slew of top celebrities who will drop everything to do her a favour – not to mention appear in a video that requires some of them to dress up in leather outfits and throw weapons.
These high-profile names are now really part of Swift’s “chosen ones” squad, which comes with its own financial and career benefits.
When Nicki Minaj’s “Feeling Myself” surprisingly dropped, the Beyhive and Barbz couldn’t deal. After their wishes were granted of not one, but two, tracks between Minaj and Beyonce, the kids then wanted a video for either the “Flawless (Remix)” or “Feeling Myself.” The latter was filmed on location at this year’s Coachella and was a dizzying display of their awesome pop-culture infused outfits and too on-point eyeliner. Like seriously, who were the makeup artists and nail technicians on this road trip?!
The video is not entirely original, but people like seeing Minaj and Beyonce together. And the evident candidness of the scenes are an element that’s always thrilling to see the perpetually perfect Beyonce in. “Feeling Myself” was like a Lisa Frank induced world for grown-ups. And with that being said, I need a membership. NOW.
Minaj and Beyonce are the kind of women that are so big in R&B and hip-hop that they’ve crossed over to pop and often stand alone as the sole woman on songs or on stage. Bey has collaborated on the albums of Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys, but has taken a real liking to Nicki. We shouldn’t be surprised to see another power song from them in the near future, or the rapper featured on Bey’s next release which is a rarity. Only Missy Elliott has been given a feature as a guest artist on a Beyonce LP. But the Queen Bey did reach out to Lady Gaga back in 2009 for her own remix of “Video Phone” and returned the favor for Gaga’s “Telephone” months later.
And lastly, there’s “Pretty Girls” a mediocre pop track from Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea. It’s an okay song that has its moments (she does sound cute when she sing-along raps: “Tell me, is it true that these men are from Mars? Is that why they be acting bizarre?”), but she has and can do better. Still, it’s commendable that after seeing Azalea’s “Fancy” video, that Jaden and Sean’s mom spread the love and wanted to collab with her.
“Bad Blood”, “Feeling Myself” and “Pretty Girls” are fun displays of female togetherness that pop music hasn’t seen in awhile and it is a decision rarely supported by even music critics. In seeing these female artists make their get their girls together or extend a hand to another woman in music, Swift, Minaj and Spears effortlessly made feminist and girl power statements that were accessible and clear.